A Jewish inmate at the San Francisco County Jail will be permitted to have his yarmulke back. Duane Allen Hoffman, 48, who is awaiting trial for theft and fraud, won a federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination. Hoffman, who is Orthodox, was allowed to wear his yarmulke in jail after his May 2008 arrest, but sheriffs took it away this April, claiming a razor could be hidden under it, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. In his handwritten lawsuit filed April 23, Hoffman pointed out that Catholic inmates are permitted rosaries, and African-American inmates may wear mesh “wave caps.” He claimed jail officials took away his yarmulke as punishment after he asked for a tallis.Describing himself to reporters as a “gentleman thief,” Hoffman wove a colorful account of his life as the only child of wealthy Connecticut parents, a former code-breaker for the U.S. military, arrested for identity theft numerous times in Europe and the United States. No part of his story could be confirmed. Hoffman is in a wheelchair.
He faces up to 50 years in prison for using stolen credit cards to pay hotel bills and buy luxury goods from Neiman Marcus.