Militia attorneys told to refile bond appeal


CINCINNATI - Attorneys representing the Hutaree militia members accused of attempting to overthrow the government yesterday asked the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the denial of bond for the nine defendants.

Later, though, the court responded by saying the Hutaree members must return to the appellate three-judge panel that ruled against them Monday and ask it for a second look.

The emergency petition filed by defense attorneys earlier yesterday with the appeals court in Cincinnati said a three-judge panel didn't apply the appropriate federal criminal procedure rules in overturning U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts' decision to allow the Lenawee County militia group to be released on bond.

Defense attorneys Todd Shanker and Richard Helfrick, who represent David Stone, Jr., were joined in the emergency petition by attorneys for the other defendants.

Mr. Stone, 19, of Adrian is the son of David Stone, 45, the suspected leader of the Hutaree militia group. They and the other defendants have been held without bond in Detroit-area jails since they were arrested by FBI agents in late March.

Also charged in the case are David Stone's wife, Tina Stone, 44; his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, all of Clayton, Mich.; Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Michael Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich.; Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio.

They are charged with conspiracy to commit sedition, or rebellion against the government and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction.

The attorneys asked that the emergency appeal be heard by all 15 sitting judges on the appellate court, which handles cases from federal courts in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

"Each day these guys are in jail when they shouldn't be is irrevocable damage," said attorney Art Weiss, who represents Mr. Piatek.

In the motion asking for a rehearing, the attorneys said the appellate panel applied the wrong standard of review in denying bond, failed to apply the required four-prong legal test, and introduced new arguments in their decision that were never entered into evidence at detention hearings in district court.

Judge Roberts of the U.S. District Court in Detroit rejected pleas from U.S. attorneys to keep the defendants locked up until trial.

However, the appellate court on Monday granted an emergency stay on the bond release sought by federal prosecutors and called for an expedited review of the appeal.

Gina Balaya, spokesman for the Justice Department, said a rebuttal to the defense attorneys' motion could be filed Monday, the deadline set by the appellate court for federal prosecutors to file arguments on the bond issue.