By Krishnadev Calamur.
An appeals court in Cincinnati has overturned the hate-crime convictions of 16 Amish who cut the beards and hair of their fellow Amish.
“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,” the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.
The Associated Press adds that three defendants who were convicted of non-hate crime-related charges did not challenge those convictions.
The Amish beard-cutters, headed by a man named Sam Mullet, who ran a community of about 120 people near Bergholz, Ohio, were convicted in September 2012 of five attacks in Amish communities in Ohio in 2011. As Barbara Bradley Hagerty reported for NPR’s All Things Considered at the time: “The victims have all been Amish leaders who have spoken out against Mullet, or those who have fled Mullet’s group.”