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Judgment of Acquittal and Dismissal of Charges Against Seven Members of Hutaree Militia

Posted in Acquittal, indictment

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted a judgment of acquittal in favor of seven members of the Hutaree militia, dismissing all charges against the defendants following the conclusion of the government’s case against them at trial, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. Tina Stone; David Stone, Jr.; Michael Meeks; Thomas Piatek, and Kristopher Sickles had been charged with allegedly conspiring to kill a police officer and bomb a funeral in an effort to overthrow the U.S. government. The Court found that the government did not possess sufficient evidence that the six defendants entered into any agreement to oppose the authority of the United States. Following its indictment of the defendants, the government changed its theory of conspiracy to allege that the defendants conspired to provoke a response from law enforcement, and not to overthrow the U.S. government. The Court noted, in oft-quoted language, in its order that "The prosecution is not free to roam at large — to shift its theory of criminality so as to take  advantage of each passing vicissitude of the trial." Attorneys for the government acknowledged that there was no specific date, place, or target for the defendants’ alleged actions.

Image source: www.fjc.gov/history/courthouses.nsf/getcourthouse

The case remains pending against the alleged Hutaree leader, David Stone, Sr., and his son, Joshua Stone, for unlawful possession of weapons.