CLEVELAND – The leader of a breakaway Amish group in Ohio convicted in hair- and beard-cutting attacks is pushing to get his sentence overturned using arguments already considered and rejected in court.
An attorney for 72-year-old Samuel Mullet Sr. argues that his previous lawyer made mistakes during trial and in prior appeals, and the previous lawyer has said that in court filings.
Federal prosecutors say a judge should turn down the request. They say the case record shows Mullet had effective legal representation during his trial and appeals and that any alleged errors didn't hinder his ability to get acquittals. They noted his convictions for several assaults were erased during a previous appeal.
"There were no errors, let alone an accumulation of errors so egregious that Mullet was somehow deprived of due process," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan wrote in the latest filing Monday.
Defense attorneys argued the hair-cutting attacks stemmed from family disputes. Prosecutors contended the motive was religious, as hair and beards have spiritual significance in the Amish faith.
Mullet, who is serving an 11-year sentence, led an Amish group in the eastern Ohio community of Bergholz near the West Virginia panhandle. Of the 16 Amish community members convicted in the case, only Mullet remains imprisoned.
Prosecutors said some of the victims in the 2011 attacks were awakened in the middle of the night and restrained as others cut their hair and beards. Mullet wasn't present for the attacks but was accused of orchestrating them.
An appeals court dismissed hate-crimes convictions for the defendants because of an issue with jury instructions. They were resentenced on remaining charges, mainly conspiracy to obstruct justice, though half already had served their sentences by that point.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided last year not to review an appeal brought by Mullet's lawyers that challenged the constitutionality of the federal hate crimes law.
This story has been corrected to show Mullet is asking the court to vacate his sentence, not convictions.