Sam Mullet Asks For Release Due to Attorney Mistakes

Sam Mullet was sentenced in 2013 to 15 years in prison for orchestrating beard and hair-cutting attacks on Amish.

Sam Mullet

Mullet later saw his sentence reduced to a little under 11 years.

If you missed the story at the time, Mullet was the bishop of a breakaway Amish group which began following decidedly un-Amish practices, detailed in the book Renegade Amish.

These included attacks by Mullet’s followers on five victims which involved forcible beard cutting. Some victims were family members of the perpetrators.

Mullet generated so much fear among the Amish, that some requested he be sentenced to life in prison.

Mullet and his followers were convicted in 2012 of charges including conspiracy, obstruction of justice and hate crimes.

Now Mullet would like to be released early, arguing that errors committed by his lawyer potentially influenced the outcome.

His attorney has officially admitted to the errors. More details at

Mullet argues in a motion filed Friday that his former attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Ed Bryan, made a series of errors while representing him at his 2012 trial, and through two appeals. Had Bryan not committed the errors, Mullet’s trial may have ended differently, the motion says.

Bryan, who has worked as a federal defense attorney since 1997, admitted to these errors in an affidavit included in the motion.

This includes not arguing on Mullet’s second appeal that federal prosecutors were out of line in noting Mullet’s alleged sexual misconduct to the jury.

Mullet has a new legal representative now. He has asked to be released from prison while awaiting the outcome of his legal challenge.

Fifteen others involved were given varying sentences, all significantly shorter than Mullet’s. Mullet is the last of the group remaining in prison.

Does Mullet have a chance at early release? Appeals against the convictions have failed before, and in one case succeeded when the hate-crimes convictions were overturned (which is what led to the resentencing).

The article notes that overturning the remaining convictions (conspiracy, obstruction of justice, making a false statement to law enforcement) would be “a high bar to clear legally since Mullet has already lost an appeal.” The full motion is available to read here.

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    1. Debbie H


      I think that he has a right to appeal but I do not think he should be released while awaiting the decision. I base this on the previous appeals being denied and the violence of the crime.

    2. KimH

      Prison life

      Well Sam must have assimilated well in prison. He’s following the path of any good felon behind bars…
      I hope they reject his appeal. He’s a stinker of a human being.

    3. Nicholas


      It sounds like Mullet and his new attorney are essentially asking for a mistrial without calling it that. Basing the motion on attorney errors, though, makes it more of an issue of Mullet’s first attorney being out-lawyered rather than procedure.

      1. Nicholas


        Checked with Dad, who is an attorney. Mistrial can only happen during the actual trial.

        1. Thanks Nicholas for the update. No legal background myself, but your original comment made me curious.

    4. Mullet prosecutors argue his attorney did a good job

      An update from – prosecutors are praising the work of Mullet’s attorney, in arguing that the case shouldn’t be overturned:

      CLEVELAND, Ohio — Federal prosecutors wrote Monday that the attorney who represented imprisoned Amish bishop Sam Mullet should stop being so hard on himself because his client is doing more than a decade in prison.

      In fact, he did a good job, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

      “There were no errors, let alone an accumulation of errors so egregious that Mullet was somehow deprived of due process,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan.

      The strange praise came as federal prosecutors fight a challenge by Mullet to his sentence for orchestrating a series of beard and hair-cutting attacks on his enemies.

      Mullet, 72, of Bergholz is serving a federal prison sentence of more than 10 years. He is asking U.S. District Judge Dan Polster to overturn his sentence and argued in a motion filed in January that Edward Bryan, a federal public defender, and co-counsel Wendi Overmyer made a series of mistakes at trial and through two appeals. Had the errors not been made, the trial may have ended differently, Mullet argues.