A U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled that an inmate in Louisiana who is a Rastafarian can keep dreadlocks he has been growing for about six years as a part of his religion after the state demanded he cut them to adhere to prison grooming policies.
A three-judge panel from the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled the inmate, Christopher Ware, “met his burden to show that the grooming policies substantially burden his sincere religious beliefs.”
Ware argued the grooming policies violated the U.S. Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which allows for reasonable accommodations when possible for inmates to maintain their religious beliefs.
The Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC), a defendant in the suit, is reviewing the court’s decision and exploring its options, department spokesman Ken Pastorick said in an email.
The appeals court said the department did not provide adequate reasoning why it could not make an accommodation in this case for the inmate.
“We conclude that DOC failed to meet its burden under RLUIPA of showing both that its grooming policies serve a compelling interest and that they are the least restrictive means of serving any such interest,” the judges said.
Ware, who was convicted of sexual battery in 2014, began practicing the Rastafarian faith, which is based in Jamaica, in 2011 or 2012, according to court documents.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Bill Trott and Chris Reese)
Ex-Peru president wanted for corruption arrested in the US
Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States Tuesday to face extradition to his home country on corruption charges, authorities in the South American nation said.
The 73-year-old is suspected of involvement in the sprawling Odebrecht scandal in which the construction giant paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes throughout the continent to secure huge public works contracts.
The Peruvian attorney general's office announced on Twitter that Toledo "was arrested this morning for extradition, in the United States."
Toledo has been formally charged with receiving a $20 million payment from Odebrecht to grant it the tender to build the Interoceanic Highway that links Peru with Brazil.
Comic-Con mines past for future hits on 50th edition
A smorgasbord of sequels, prequels and reunions from "Terminator" to "Game of Thrones" awaits thousands of misty-eyed comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds descending on San Diego this week for the world's largest celebration of pop culture fandom.
The 50th edition of Comic-Con International will see 135,000 cosplayers, bloggers, movie executives and humble fans pile into a sweaty convention center for glimpses of their heroes, in town to promote the next mega-hit films, TV shows and comic books.
This anniversary edition promises to be more nostalgia-laden than most -- among those expected to appear are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who will soon reunite on screen for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2" for Paramount's killer cyborg sequel "Dark Fate."
‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America's federal government is broken.
"This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening," Williams reported.
"Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99," he said.