CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) –
An Ohio appeals court has overturned the hate-crime convictions of a rogue Amish group convicted in a series of beard cutting attacks.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati agreed Wednesday with attorneys for the Amish, who have been in jail since 2013. It said the jury’s instructions on how to weigh the role of religion in the attacks were unclear.
The court wrote:
No one questions that the assaults occurred, and only a few defendants question their participation in them. The central issue at trial was whether the defendants committed the assaults “because of” the religion of the victims. 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2)(A). In instructing the jury on this point, the district court rejected the defendants’ proposed instruction (that the faith of the victims must be a “but for” cause of the assaults) and adopted the government’s proposed instruction (that the faithof the victims must be a “significant factor” in motivating the assaults).
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