Kentucky death row inmates get 2nd chance in lawsuit over Native American religious ceremonies

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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Three Kentucky death row inmates will get another chance to show they have a right to a sweat lodge, pow wow and traditional foods to conduct Native American religious ceremonies behind bars at the prison.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Friday ordered part of a lawsuit brought by those inmates be reinstated after concluding that state officials failed to show compelling reasons for denying their requests.

The appeals court also turned away a related bid by two condemned inmates to get monetary damages from prison officials for changing the rules on visits from pastors to those on death row.

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell ruled in 2013 that the prison's rejection of the requests were necessary for the security of inmates and others.

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