A Clipper Proves The Undoing Of A Mullet: Amish Hate Crimes Case Raises Fundamental Concerns Over Federal Power

GetImage.aspxThe recent conviction of Amish bishop Samuel Mullet Sr. in the Amish hair-cutting case raises renewed questions over the ever-expanding claims of federal jurisdiction.  Mullet was given 15 years in prison for federal hate crimes.  In order to do so, however, the Obama Administration had to establish federal jurisdiction.  They did so by building the case around the “Wahl battery-operated hair clippers” used to cut the beards of Amish men and insisted that federal jurisdiction followed the clippers which crossed state borders in their manufacturing and sale. The superseding indictment is linked below.


Mullet was convicted in September of organizing a series of raids in 2011 against religious enemies and disobedient family members. This was an intra-Amish dispute in which the men’s beards were forcibly sheared and women’s hair was cut. I have no problem at all with criminal prosecution for assault and other state offenses. However, the Justice Department insisted on getting involved as a hate crime. The 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act requires “an instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce.” So, U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach, of the Northern District of Ohio, argued that the clippers used in the assaults “were purchased at Walmart and had travelled in and affected interstate commerce in that they were manufactured in Dover, Delaware.” The federal court accepted the argument which would render any limits on federal power meaningless for the purposes of federalizing what are state crimes.

In addition to Mullett, fifteen other Amish members were sentenced to prison terms of two to seven years.

The case could get more attention due to the role of Obama’s nominee for Labor secretary, Thomas Perez, in the case in his capacity as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

Since virtually all products travel across state borders, this theory gives federal hate crimes universal application. It further allows federal prosecutors to retry state defendants for essentially the same alleged acts by redefining the acts as hate crimes as opposed to assaults. It is a test of federal jurisdiction that cannot fail.

Here is the superseding indictment: 120328052727_Superseding Indictment filed

36 thoughts on “A Clipper Proves The Undoing Of A Mullet: Amish Hate Crimes Case Raises Fundamental Concerns Over Federal Power

  1. Steve,
    that is an interesting attempt to stretch the clock using the excuse that we are at war. My only question is when did we declare war on Afghanistan or Iraq?

  2. raff, or any of the other countries we have invaded and stayed. Does any other country have bases in this country similar to those we have in nearly 70 others?

  3. Apparently the DOJ has chosen to go after free internet people, medical cannabis users, and now Amish barbers. Holder is an idiot and errand boy going back to his days w/ Bubba. I was hoping he would get shitcanned this 2nd term. I guess he’s being kept around to help w/ some pardons in 2016..that’s his specialty you’ll remember.

  4. I could not get the hyperlink to open up the “superceding indictment” in the Amish case. I would like to see how this is set forth. If WordPress could work on that instead of censoring apCray and making us resort to Pig Latin I would appreciate it.
    I am going to go on to the Sentencing Blog and see if I can find this Amish apCray on there.

  5. The DOJ is out of control and apparently some, even if not all, judges are OK with it. Ends justifying the means is a bad precedent to set. In a sane justice system the Wahl argument and the ‘wartime’ argument would be laughed out of court and the DOJ atty’s held in contempt for even advancing such BS- it’s an abuse of process to take up a courts time with arguments like these. The Judges that signed off on these rationales should be drug tested. As I have asked previously, can we just cal it fascism now?

  6. de minimis to the max.

    I read somewhere that minimal interstate commerce can trigger this. That is how essentially the feds do gun crime offenses, the gun is sold via interstate commerce and the federal law is golden.

    Of course this just shows how selective they are. With this standard they could just cherry pick whoever they want to go after because they really don’t want to deal with the entirety of what they could be forced to work on, that is nearly every crime involving theft of any object or use of a telephone or anything under the sun. Nope, only for who they want to target.

  7. The last time we were at war was 1945. Congress has not declared war since then. Any judge (lower case) that approves something today based on being at “war” should be impeached. Any 2nd grader reading the Constitution will tell you that Congress declares war, not soldiers firing guns.

  8. After a few African & Arab countries, Iran & North Korea, we now live in the country with the dumbest & scariest federal government in the world. This could soon translate to be the dumbest & scariest country in the world bar only the above, some of which may pull ahead of us. Should martial law occur (& why the NDA Act based on martial law if it were not a federal plan or consideration?) maximum federal juristriction will be a fait accomplie in the worst possible way. Perhaps we are seeing the real reason an unnecessary law like ‘hate crime’ was devised. I hate living under the yoke of a psychotic government; we move closer to North Korea every day.

  9. Steve, Thanks for posting the article on DOJ, it’s good info on a dangerous trend. I had always read that justice was most effective if it was swift and certain.

  10. Look up in Black’s Law (4th or earlier) and comprehend what UNITED STATES means… and what ‘citizen’ actually means… If you are a US citizen you are subject to that United States which refers to the District of Columbia.. a subject is a slave … and you have ‘volunteered’ to that status. ‘Citizens’ have no rights.. only privileges.

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