Most Ohio Amish appeal beard-cutting convictions

CLEVELAND — Ten of 16 Amish found guilty of hair- and beard-cutting hate crime attacks on fellow members of their faith in Ohio had filed appeals of their convictions by Tuesday.

A U.S. District Court judge who sentenced them Feb. 8 said they would have two weeks to file expected appeals with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

The defendants have challenged the constitutionality of the federal hate crimes act as overly broad. The judge rejected the claim before their trial last year.

Ringleader Sam Mullet Sr. has been sentenced to 15 years, and the co-defendants, all members of his extended family, got sentences of one year to seven years.

They were convicted in five attacks in Ohio Amish communities in 2011 in apparent retaliation against Amish who had defied or denounced Mullet’s authoritarian style.

The jury sided with prosecution arguments that the defendants should be found guilty of a hate crime because religious differences brought about the attacks.

The government said Mullet orchestrated the attacks and controlled members of his Amish settlement in Bergholz near Steubenville.

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