Court Overturns Amish Convictions

(Cincinnati) -- The convictions of 16 Amish men found guilty of hate crimes in eastern Ohio are being thrown out after a federal appeals court ruling in Cincinnati. The "Cleveland Plain Dealer" reports Bishop Samuel Mullett Sr. and 15 of his followers could now receive new trials. They were convicted in a series of hair-and-beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish men in Jefferson County in 2011. Prosecutors say the attacks were meant to shame men Mullet believed were straying from their beliefs.
The court today found that the judge's instructions to the jury during the trial were faulty due to the definition of a hate crime. Defense attorneys had argued that the crimes were not committed because of the victims' religion, but because of personal disputes. Samuel Mullet was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison.