The Amish religion is a branch of Christianity that adheres to a doctrine of simplicity, nonviolence and forgiveness. How then did a breakaway group come to be implicated in the first federal trial to prosecute religiously motivated hate crimes within the same faith community? From September to November in 2011, there was series of five...
ABA Journal: Modern Law Library
Lee Rawles joined the ABA Journal in 2010 as a web producer. She has also worked for the Winston-Salem...
The Amish religion is a branch of Christianity that adheres to a doctrine of simplicity, nonviolence and forgiveness. How then did a breakaway group come to be implicated in the first federal trial to prosecute religiously motivated hate crimes within the same faith community?
From September to November in 2011, there was series of five attacks against nine Amish victims in Ohio in which their beards or hair were shorn. Some were left bruised and bloodied. Several victims had their homes invaded in the dead of night, while others were lured to a settlement in Bergholz, Ohio, and then attacked. The alleged perpetrators were from a breakaway Amish community in Bergholz, led by a bishop named Samuel Mullet. Some victims were estranged family members of the attackers, while others had crossed Mullet in some way.
State officials called on federal prosecutors to take over the case and to try the alleged perpetrators under the Shepard-Byrd Act, a federal hate crimes law. Sixteen people were charged in the attacks in U.S. v. Miller, including Mullet. The jury found the 10 men and six women guilty of a total of 87 counts out of 90. But how did it come to this?
Donald Kraybill, a professor of Amish studies, was an expert witness in the trial. He has written Renegade Amish: Beard Cutting, Hate Crimes and the Trial of the Bergholz Barbers, to explain the history of the case, and the sociological and religious factors that led to the attacks.
Though the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions in a 2-1 decision, based on their interpretation of “but for” causation in the 2009 hate-crimes act, they allowed for a retrial.
Kraybill does not think that this will be the end of the case. In this podcast, he shares with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles the backstory behind the case; what it was like for him to testify; and what he feels the implications of the 6th Circuit’s decision will be.
Renegade Amish: Beard Cutting, Hate Crimes and the Trial of the Bergholz Barbers by Donald B. Kraybill
ABA Journal: Modern Law Library features top legal authors and their works.
Katherine James explains how she uses her theater background to advise lawyers.
Legal ethics experts Lawrence J. Fox and Susan R. Martyn walk through the Six C’s” of legal ethics and share their advice for what...
Steven Wright discusses how he got into creative writing, what it's been like to teach students at the University of Wisconsin Law School remotely,...
Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman are sounding a warning about the direction of SCOTUS rulings on the separation of church and state.
Larry Tye takes an in-depth look at Joseph McCarthy's life, in his book 'Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy'.
Brooke Lively discusses her book and breaks down the 6 key numbers that will help you understand the financial health of your law practice.