Prosecutors Want Life Sentence for Fringe Amish Bishop




Federal prosecutors argued today that Samuel Mullet, the Jefferson County bishop who coordinated a series of beard cuttings against members of his radical Amish sect, should get life imprisonment for his crimes.

Their argument hinges on the belief that Mullet's cohorts wouldn't have engaged in "violent or obstructive behavior," if not for the influence of their leader.

The prosecutors seem to want to punish Mullet not for the crimes themselves, but for the mighty influence he wielded in his community. From the 25-page report:

"Samuel Mullet Sr.'s control over the Bergholz community was — and is — absolute. He was able to get men to surrender their wives to him. Wives would be forced to leave their small children and live in Mullet Sr.'s home so that they could be available to him."

On the other end of the spectrum, Mullet's defense attorney urged a sentencing of two years or less, "based on the minimal harm to the victims."

What's a rational judge to do?

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