Court: OC Jailers Erred in Removal of Muslim's Headscarf

The panel reinstated a civil rights lawsuit filed against the county

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    A federal appeals court ruled that Orange County jailers violated the religious freedom rights of a Muslim woman who was ordered to take off her headscarf in a courthouse holding cell.

    An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated a civil rights lawsuit filed by Souhair Khatib in 2007 against the county.

    Khatib was jailed for several hours in November 2006 after a judge revoked her probation from a misdemeanor welfare fraud conviction. Probation was reinstated the same day and Khatib was released.

    A trial court judge and a three-judge appeals court panel previously dismissed the lawsuit, saying that holding cells aren't covered by a federal law protecting inmates' religious practices. But the 11 judges rejected that argument Tuesday and ordered Khatib's lawsuit to proceed.