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N.D. Supreme Court says white supremacist Cobb entitled to ‘reasonable’ bail; hearing set for Friday

BISMARCK - The North Dakota Supreme Court has ordered a district court judge to set “reasonable bail with reasonable conditions” for a white supremacist who has been held without bail since his arrest last month for allegedly terrorizing residents of Leith, the small town he planned to turn into a whites-only community.

A bail hearing for Craig Cobb is set for 2:30 p.m. Friday in Bismarck before Judge Cynthia Feland via interactive television.

Judge Thomas Schneider originally ordered Cobb held without bail on Nov. 18 in Grant County District Court. Judge Bruce Haskell extended that order during a hearing Monday, at the same time setting cash-only bail at $50,000 for Kynan Dutton, who along with Cobb is charged with seven felony counts of terrorizing for allegedly approaching Leith residents with loaded firearms on Nov. 15 and 16.

Cobb asked the Supreme Court last week to intervene, but the high court decided to reserve judgment pending the outcome of Monday’s hearing.

In an order filed Tuesday, justices granted Cobb’s request, referring to a section of the state Constitution that requires bail for all defendants “unless for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great.”

The Supreme Court also noted there’s no evidence in the court record of an extraditable Canadian offense for which Cobb can be held without bail, which the Bismarck Tribune reported was part of Haskell’s reason for continuing Cobb’s no-bond status.

Cobb fled to the United States after being charged Dec. 31, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the willful promotion of hatred. Authorities have said Cobb can’t be extradited back to Canada because there is no similar U.S. law for the offense.

The high court ordered the district court to set bail no later than Friday.

Cobb and Dutton remained jailed in Stanton on Thursday afternoon.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.