Amish Men Jailed After Refusing To Pay Fines For Buggy Signs

Published: Sep 14, 2021

A group of Amish men have been jailed after a feud for not posting the orange-red safety triangle signs on their buggies. The group refused to pay the fines in western Kentucky and were arrested. Judge Deborah Hawkins, of Graves County, handed out sentences ranging from 3 to 10 days jail time.

The men told the court that it was against their Amish religion to wear or display bright colors or relying upon symbols for their safety.

There were also special arrangements made to give the men darker colored clothing for their stay in jail opposed to the brightly colored orange jump suits regular prisoners would have to wear.

The men were allowed to bring their bibles with them when they reported to the jail on Monday night. The Kentucky Court of Appeals denied an appeal of the misdemeanor convictions in June. An appeal to the Supreme Court was made, but the court hasn’t decided to look into yet.

A ninth man who was also sentenced avoided jail time when a friend stepped in to pay the fine for him. He was an ailing son who has cerebral palsy and needs care.

Even though the sign is against the men’s beliefs, other Amish groups in the state properly display the signs on their buggies. However, supporters at the court for the eight men belonging to the Old Order of Swartzentruber, were disappointed in the judge’s decision.

“We’re certainly disappointed that the judge chose to go forward,” the men’s lawyer, William Sharp, said in an interview Tuesday. “We thought it was unnecessary to do so until the cases had been conclusively resolved one way or another by the Kentucky Supreme Court.”

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