UPDATES & ANALYSIS

4.08

Recent shave moots Eighth Circuit beard appeal

by Ryan Leemkuil | April 8, 2015

By Ryan Leemkuil

The beard saga brewing in Arkansas prisons may have drawn to a close. As we mentioned a couple months ago, the latest beard case, Deaton v. Arkansas Dep’t of Corrections, was headed for an Eighth Circuit RLUIPA showdown after the Supreme Court’s pro-beard ruling in Holt v. Hobbs. But it looks like Mr. Deaton and the prison officials have decided to let sleeping dogs lie. According to today’s Eighth Circuit decision, Arkansas has changed its grooming policy—presumably in response to Holt—to allow inmates to grow beards of any length. Mr. Deaton, for his part, is going beardless as spring settles in. He recently advised the Eighth Circuit that “he has shaved his beard and has no present intent to re-grow it.” As a result, the Eighth Circuit dismissed the appeal as moot.

*Ryan Leemkuil is legal counsel at Fareway  Stores and before that was an attorney at Nyemaster Goode.

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