Suspect in Amish attacks must pay for defense
CLEVELAND | The accused ringleader in beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish in Ohio cannot rely on taxpayers to pay his legal bills, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster ruled that Samuel Mullet Sr., 66, who has a nearly 800-acre farm near Steubenville with oil and gas leases, can afford to pay his defense attorney.
Mr. Mullet has been represented by a public defender, Edward Bryan, but now must pay the going court rate of $125 hourly if he wants to keep him, the judge ruled.
Mr. Mullet and 11 followers are charged in five beard- and hair-cutting attacks on other Amish last year. They have pleaded not guilty.
Other defendants received courtappointed attorneys.
A feud over church discipline allegedly led to attacks in which the beards and hair of men and hair of women were cut, an act considered deeply offensive in Amish culture. The Amish believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Farmers Branch overstepped its authority in 2008 when it passed a law calling on the city’s building inspector to check the immigration status of anyone wanting to rent an apartment who wasn’t a U.S. citizen.
Under the law, illegal immigrants would have been barred from rental housing, and landlords who knowingly allowed them to stay could have their rental licenses barred.
“Because the sole purpose and effect of this ordinance is to target the presence of illegal aliens within the City of Farmers Branch and to cause their removal, it contravenes the federal government’s exclusive authority over the regulation of immigration and the conditions of residence in this country,” the court’s opinion stated.