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Published: Saturday, 6/10/2006

Inmate serving life term denied synagogue visit

A man serving a life sentence in a Toledo prison who wants to convert to Judaism cannot be transported to a synagogue, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

Ralph Beasley, who is imprisoned in the Toledo Correctional Institution, sued the state last year, claiming that prison officials were interfering with his right to practice religion.

U.S. District Judge James Carr rejected Beasley s request to be taken from the North Toledo prison to the Congregation Etz Chayim in West Toledo so that he could be converted in a ceremony under Jewish law.

Judge Carr said the inmate s request was not protected under the Constitution or federal law. He also agreed with the warden s analysis that it would be a security risk and disruptive to prison procedures.

Beasley, 53, was convicted of murder in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in 1991.

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