Judge says Ohio can’t cut off convicted killer’s dreadlocks

COLUMBUS, Ohio  —  A team of Case Western Reserve University law students has successfully argued a federal lawsuit, saying that an Ohio inmate should be allowed to keep his dreadlocks, protecting his religious freedom.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Ohio can't force the convicted killer to cut off the dreadlocks, agreeing that it was a violation of religious rights.

U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan sided with inmate Deon Glenn, who says his faith of Rastafarianism requires him to wear his hair in dreadlocks.

Gaughan's ruling Monday said Ohio's blanket policy against dreadlocks in prison violates the law because it doesn't permit a religious exemption, and the state didn't prove Glenn's hair couldn't be searched for contraband or is a safety risk.

The judge limited her decision to Glenn and said other similar complaints should be analyzed individually. A prison's spokeswoman declined to comment.

The 29-year-old Glenn is serving 15 years to life on a murder charge.