Today Samuel Mullet Sr., the leader of an Amish sect in Ohio, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for encouraging his followers to cut the beards and hair of Amish people who spurned his teachings. The series of bizarre assaults, though humiliating, did not cause any serious injuries and probably would have resulted in a sentence of a few years under state law. But Steven M. Dettelbach, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, successfully argued that they amounted to federal "hate crimes," since the victims were chosen "because of" their "actual or perceived religion." The upshot was that Mullet faced a potential life sentence, which prosecutors claimed he fully deserved, suggesting that forcible beard trimming is a crime tantamount to mass murder. Mullet's lawyer more plausibly suggested that a term of two years or less would be appropriate. Since Mullet is 67, there may not be much difference between his actual sentence and the one prosecutors urged.
Source: Reason. Read full article. (link)