By Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A federal appeals court says a judge in Wyoming was wrong to dismiss a Northern Arapaho man’s lawsuit claiming state prison officials violated his religious rights by denying him access to a sweat lodge in prison.

Andrew John Yellowbear Jr. is serving a life sentence in state prison in the 2004 beating death of his daughter, 22-month-old Marcela Hope Yellowbear.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a 2012 ruling by U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson that dismissed Yellowbear’s civil rights lawsuit on the sweat lodge issue. The appeals court sent the case back to Johnson for more action.

Yellowbear is pressing another federal lawsuit pending against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claiming the federal agency improperly delayed sending him eagle feathers for religious purposes.

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