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Yellowbear's religion case sent back to original judge

Jan 24, 2014 - From staff and wire reports

Andrew Yellowbear Jr. finally has won a court ruling.

A federal appeals court says a judge in Wyoming was wrong to dismiss the convicted child murderer's lawsuit claiming state prison officials violated his religious rights by denying him access to a sweat lodge in prison.

The Northern Arapaho tribal member is serving a life sentence in state prison in the 2004 beating death of his daughter, 22-month-old Marcela Hope Yellowbear. He systematically beat and neglected the child over period of weeks until she died in a Riverton apartment.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a 2012 ruling by U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson that dismissed Yellowbear's civil rights lawsuit on the sweat lodge issue.

The appeals court sent the case back to Johnson for more action.

Yellowbear is pressing another federal lawsuit pending against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claiming the federal agency improperly delayed sending him eagle feathers for religious purposes.

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