An alleged white supremacist from Portland accused of mailing a noose to an NAACP member in Ohio creates a fair amount of racial tension on its own. Imagine the surprise when a federal judge appoints a black attorney to represent the defendant.
That's what happened today when Daniel Lee Jones appeared in court.
The U.S. District Attorney's office announced
(PDF) today that Jones, 32, was indicted for allegedly mailing a threatening letter and a noose to an NAACP member in Lima, Ohio. He's charged with mailing a threatening communication and interfering with federally protected activities.
Investigators say Jones is regional director of the American National Socialist Workers Party. The party is labeled a neo-Nazi hate group by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.
Wearing blue prison duds and leg shackles, Jones was calm and casual as he stood before Magistrate Judge Dennis Hubel today at U.S. District Court in Portland. Jones requested a court-appointed attorney and his release pending trial.
Hubel appointed Harold DuCloux III, a federal public defender, to represent Jones. DuCloux, who is black, sat beside Jones throughout the hearing.
Jones made no objection, accepted DuCloux as his attorney, and was granted his release on the conditions that he agree to GPS monitoring and remain in Oregon, with the exception of court-related travel to Ohio.
Hubel also required that the multiple firearms in Jones' residence be removed and that any firearms or other weapons remain out of his possession.
Authorities accuse Jones of mailing the letter to the NAACP's Jason Upthegrove, an advocate for racial equality in Lima, Ohio. Upthegrove spoke out against the hate mail and organized assemblies to help rally Lima community members while the FBI investigated the noose's origin — a trail that led them 3,000 miles to Portland.
Jones is set to appear in December at federal court in Toledo, Ohio.