The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has overturned the former hate-crime convictions of 16 Amish men who cut the hair and beards of other Amish community members in 2011.
The beard cutting was headed by Ohio Amish community leader Sam Mullet. Mullet, 69, received 15 years in prison for cutting the hair and beards of fellow Amish men, a symbol of manhood and maturity for the group. Other members of Mullet’s family received prison sentences of one to seven years.
The court has now ruled that the act was motivated by personal conflicts, not religion.
A statement from the court said, "When all is said and done, considerable evidence supported the defendants' theory that interpersonal and intra-family disagreements, not the victims' religious beliefs, sparked the attacks.”
Publication date: August 28, 2014