A U.S. appeals court halted the release of nine members of a radical militia group accused of plotting to kill law enforcement officials in Michigan, said a WSJ.com report.
The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay Thursday morning, blocking the release of the defendants. The eight men and one woman had only been cleared for a release hours earlier by a lower federal court. The stay comes after federal prosecutors argued the suspects are too dangerous to be released pending trial, the report said.
The group, based in a rural Michigan town southwest of Detroit and known as Hutaree, allegedly planned to kill a police officer as part of a plan to spark a "war" with the federal government, according to charges filed in March by federal prosecutors here.
On Monday Judge Victoria A. Roberts, of the U.S. District Court for southeastern Michigan, denied the government's motion to detain the defendants and ordered them be released, but issued a stay, giving the government until Wednesday to explain why they should be held. Late on Wednesday, Judge Roberts ruled the government had failed to persuade the court the defendants must be detained until trial. In the order issue Monday, Judge Roberts set tight restrictions on the eight men and one woman, saying all must wear electronic monitoring devices, turn in their passports and gun permits, and provide the court with names of other Hutaree members who haven't been charged and names of members of other militia groups they have associated with.
The leader of the Hutaree group, David Brian Stone, of Clayton, Mich., is further forbidden from using a computer or the Internet, and his travel is restricted to eastern Michigan. His father, Ray Stone, was named as custodian for his son and must also surrender all firearms and other dangerous weapons, according to the court order.
In her order, Judge Roberts said the made "no determination that either the government or the Defendants would ultimately prevail" in the case, pointing out the only issue before her was whether the defendants could be released and prevented from fleeing or doing harm.