+4:3 Amish men jailed for refusing to display reflective triangles on buggies

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  • Published on:  Thursday, July 30, 2015
  • (13 Jan 2012)
    Mayfield, Kentucky - 12 January, 2012
    ++16:9++
    1. Tilt down from Kentucky courthouse to Amish men outside courthouse
    2. Medium of Amish men at courthouse
    3. Amish men entering courtroom
    4. Amish man walking to podium
    5. Amish man at podium
    6. Medium of judge
    7. Amish man in court
    8. Men holding hats on lap
    Mayfield, Kentucky - 21 December, 2011
    ++16:9++
    9. Buggy on country road
    10. Buggy street sign
    11. Buggy in field
    12. SOUNDBITE: (English) DeWayne Redmon, Graves County, Kentucky Sheriff:
    "We're citing them for their own safety as well as the safety of others. You take a car running fifty-five miles (88 kilometres) an hour that tops the hill, and there's that buggy on a dark highway, the chances of that car having a chance to stop and avoid hitting that buggy is going to be almost impossible."
    13. Slow pull out of buggy sans reflector
    14. SOUNDBITE: (English) John Via, Neighbour of the Amish community:
    "Their church has made the decision for them, and it's on a nationwide type basis for all the Swartzentrubers. They do not use the triangle. And if they should use the triangle they'd probably be shunned by all the other Swartzentrubers in the nation."
    15. County jail exterior
    16. Cell door opening
    17. Pan of empty holding cell
    18. Amish buggy on road
    19. Wide of Amish farm
    20. Amish clothes on clothesline
    21. Amish children playing in field
    FILE: Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania - 5 October, 2006
    ++4:3++
    22. Amish buggies with orange reflectors
    STORYLINE:
    A group of Amish men were sent to jail in western Kentucky on Thursday for refusing to pay fines for breaking a state highway law that requires their horse-drawn buggies to be marked with orange reflective triangles.
    The men have a religious objection to the bright orange signs, which they say are flashy and conflict with their pledge to live low-key and religious lives.
    Ananias Byler, the first of 10 Amish men who appeared in Graves County District Court on Thursday, was sentenced to 10 days in jail.
    The men were jailed for being found in contempt of court for refusing to pay fines.
    The men belong to a conservative breakaway group of Amish known as Swartzentruber. They live simply, with no electricity, plumbing or appliances.
    They have been running afoul of the law in recent years for refusing to use the triangles on their buggies, and some were sent to jail last year.
    Their sentences ranged from three to 13 days for fines ranging from 153 US Dollars to 627 US Dollars.
    Serving the jail time will clear their fines off the books, at a rate of about 50 US Dollars a day.
    Three Amish men have sued over the state highway law, saying it infringes on their religious freedom. The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case later this year after the state appeals court rejected the Amish men's argument.
    The issue over the orange triangles has come up before in other states with Amish populations. Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania have allowed exemptions for the Swartzentrubers, and courts in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan have sided with them.
    But police and prosecutors in Kentucky say the orange triangles are the law because they help motorists see the buggies and avoid collisions.
    "You take a car running fifty-five miles (88 kilometres) an hour that tops the hill, and there's that buggy on a dark highway, the chances of that car having a chance to stop and avoid hitting that buggy is going to be almost impossible," said DeWayne Redmon, Graves County, Kentucky Sheriff.
    Kentucky lawmakers are considering changes to the highway law to allow the Amish to use gray reflective tape instead of the orange triangles.


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