Prosecutors seek psychiatric evaluation for Hutaree member

Detroit Free Press/September 2, 2010

Saying he may not be competent to stand trial, federal prosecutors are requesting that Hutaree militia member Jacob Ward undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

In a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, federal prosecutors said there is doubt as to whether Ward, one of four militia members free on bond, is competent to stand trial on federal charges that members of the Lenawee County-based group conspired to overthrow the U.S. government and attack local, state and federal law officers.

"This belief is based upon statements made by the defendant regarding perceived problems with the Huron, Ohio, Police Department and his claimed relationship with a foreign national allegedly in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as the observations of government employees regarding the defendant's mental state and concerns raised by family members regarding his mental state," prosecutors stated in court documents.

The defense and prosecution agreed that Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio, should undergo a psychiatric evaluation, to be performed by Ann Arbor Dr. Craig Lemmen at a later date.

Ward's lawyer, Christopher Seikaly, declined to comment.

In another development, defense attorney Arthur Weiss, who is representing defendant Thomas Piatek of Whiting, Ind., petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to review a lower court decision that ordered five defendants -- including his client -- to remain jailed.

The five are David Stone Sr.; his son Joshua Stone, 21; Michael Meeks, 40; Joshua Clough, 28, and Piatek, 47.

On June 22, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a judge's decision ordering the release of the five militia members, concluding they are a public threat.

But Weiss is hoping to undo that decision, arguing his client is not dangerous.

"He's been a law-abiding citizen. He has no criminal record. He's worked every day at the same job for 17 years ... and yet he's sitting in the Milan federal detention center," said Weiss in his petition.

The Hutaree members are charged with seditious conspiracy, attempting to use weapons of mass destruction -- which carries a potential life sentence -- and possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. David Stone and David Stone Jr. also are charged with teaching/demonstrating use of explosive materials.

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