Sunday, January 13, 2013

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Green v. Sneath, (3d Cir., Jan. 7, 2013), the 3rd Circuit rejected an inmate's claim that his 1st Amendment and RLUIPA free exercise rights were infringed when his Qur'an was taken from him during his cell transfer.

In Curry v. California Department of Corrections, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1659 (ND CA, Jan. 4, 2013), a California federal district court rejected challenges by an inmate who is an adherent of Shetaut Neter to prison officials' refusal to provide him with a Kemetic diet in place of one of the prison's existing religious meal plans.

In Kleinfeldt v. Gore, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1618 (SD CA, Jan. 2, 2013), a California federal district court dismissed with leave to amend an inmate's complaint that he was given kosher meat that was inedible and so was forced to compromise his Jewish religious beliefs.

In Allah v. Virginia, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2526 (WD VA, Jan. 8, 2013), a Virginia federal district court permitted an inmate to proceed with his challenge to prison officials' refusal to recognize as a religion the Nation of Gods and Earths, and their refusal to permit NGE inmates to meet and hold religious services and otherwise practice their religion.

In Gayle v. Lamont, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3257 (ED PA, Jan. 9, 2013), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed on statute of limitations grounds claims of a Rastafarian inmate that he received meals that did not meet his vegetarian diet requirements.

In Munn v. Morris, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3287 (WD AR, Jan. 8, 2013), an Arkansas federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183982, Sept. 11, 2012) and dismissed an inmate's free exercise claim. The claim apparently was that the prison offered only Christian worship and had no chapel.

In Bowens v. Smith, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2956 (ND NY, Jan. 8, 2013), a New York federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183948, Dec. 7, 2012) and permitted an inmate to proceed with his complaint that while he was in Administrative Segregation he was not permitted to attend congregate religious services or even have a minister visit him.

In Meece v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, (KY App., Jan. 11, 2013), a Kentucky state appeals court rejected a Jewish death row inmate's complaint that he was only allowed to visit the Institutional Religious Center at the prison on the same day as other death row inmates and was not allowed to visit there on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings to observe his Sabbath. He was restricted to observing his Sabbath from his cell.

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