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I will post more updates as they become available, including a copy of the Judge's Order is it is posted online.

But, here is the story from the Detroit Free Press.

Quotes below the jump.

They are not totally released. They are going to be placed under house arrest and on a tether, with adidtional restrictions.

A federal judge in Detroit today ordered the release of nine members of a Lenawee County Christian militia group freed on bond over the objections of federal prosecutors.

"The United States is correct that it need not wait until people are killed before it arrests conspirators," U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said in a decision this morning. "But, the Defendants are also correct: their right to engage in hate-filled, venomous speech, is a right that deserves First Amendment protection."

She said federal prosecutors failed to persuade her that the defendants must be jailed until trial.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Roberts said the defendants could be freed under house arrest on electronic tethers. They must surrender their concealed weapons permits, cannot apply for a license to purchase or carry guns and cannot drink alcohol or take drugs.

She said they must continue to work and report to pretrial services on a weekly basis.

Robert said the defendants also must provide a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers for all Hutaree members and members of any other militia groups they associated with.

Roberts put more than two dozen restrictions on the group, altogether.

I will post updates, as I said.

UPDATE: For those who are not familiar with the case, here is a copy of the federal indictment against the group.

And here is a link to -- as promised -- the Judge's Order.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here are some quotes from the Judge's Opinion --

"The United States is correct that it need not wait until people are killed before it arrests conspirators. But, the Defendants are also correct: their right to engage in hatefilled, venomous speech, is a right that deserves First Amendment protection.

Because speech is so much a part of the Government’s case, Defendants urge the Court to look carefully at the evidence in making its bond decision. Defendants believe that because the weight of the evidence is insubstantial, the Court should have serious reservations about denying them bail. Due to the complexity of the case, and the number of Defendants, Defendants say they could be in jail for a long time, awaiting trial.

When a person crosses the threshold between protected speech and illegal
advocacy and related activity, is not always clear. That lack of clarity, and the fact that so much of the Government’s proffer was based on words spoken by Defendants, caused the Court to look closely not only at the protection afforded by the First Amendment, but also at the clear principle that crime masquerading as speech deserves no First Amendment protection.


The Court need not decide now, whether Defendants will be able to raise a First Amendment defense. However, the Defendants do raise principled arguments concerning the First Amendment protection afforded, even to speech we hate. For the reasons stated, the Court finds: (1) Defendants met their burden to produce evidence in favor of release; and (2) the Government failed to persuade the Court that Defendants must be held until trial. The Court GRANTS Defendants’ motions
and sets bond conditions it believes will reasonably assure their appearance in Court as well as the safety of the community.

Judge Voctoria Roberts is a Clinton appointee who is generally considered to be liberal in orientation.

Originally posted to Hesiod on Mon May 03, 2010 at 09:45 AM PDT.

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