Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Manning v. Meinzer, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98417 (ED AR, July 15, 2013) an Arkansas federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98419, June 20, 2013) and dismissed an inmate's claims that he was denied the opportunity to receive full-immersion baptism within a reasonable time after his request.

In Munson v. Gaetz, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99468 (SD IL, July 17, 2013), an Illinois federal district court rejected an inmate's claim that a vegetarian diet containing soy substantially burdened his religious practice. The magistrate's report in the case is at 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99871, Feb. 4, 2013.

In Shatner v. Atchison, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100318 (SD IL, July 17, 2013), and Illinois federal district court permitted an inmate to proceed with claims that his free exercise rights were infringed when prison authorities seized his deck of religious tarot cards, religious books, artwork and cassette tapes. However the court dismissed claims that his free exercise rights were infringed by seizure of his typewriter that he used to write religious magazine articles, and his radio.

In Thompson-Jones v. Gossage, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100513 (ED WI, July 18, 2013). a Wisconsin federal district court permitted a jail inmate who claims to embrace the Hebrew-Israelite to proceed with his claim that his free exercise and equal protection rights are infringed when authorities required that he prove that he practices the faith in order to receive a kosher diet.

In Draper v. Mascher, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100585 (D AZ, July 16, 2013), an Arizona federal district court dismissed, with leave to amend, an inmate's claim that his religious exercise rights were infringed when authorities failed to provide him with Jehovah's Witness materials and denied him a vegetarian diet.

In Dayson v. Caruso, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99621 (WD MI, July 17, 2013), a Michigan federal district court dismissed a Native American inmate's complaint regarding restrictions on tobacco, herbs, and other ingredients of smudging, and his complaint that he was deprived of his Native American flute.

In Glenn v. N.H. State Prison Family Connections Center, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99777 (D NH, July 17, 2013), a New Hampshire federal district court dismissed complaints by a Muslim inmate that while the state's prison system employs two chaplains who are both Christian, it does not employ an Imam qualified to conduct Jum'ah services but instead relies on Approved Religious Volunteers when they are available.

In Osgood v. Amato, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99514 (ND NY, July 17, 2013), a New York federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99866, June 10, 2013) and dismissed an inmate's complaint that prisoners in involuntary protective custody are prevented from practicing religion.

In Hamilton v. Fischer, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100672 (WD NY, July 18, 2013), a New York federal district court held that allegations by an inmate that authorities ripped out his dreadlocks adequately stated a free exercise claim.

In Wright v. Smith, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100815 (ED CA, July 18, 2013), a California federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing for failure to exhaust administrative remedies an inmate's claims for denial of religious meals, denial of access to a rabbi, and lack of Jewish materials in the chapel, but recommended that plaintiff be permitted to proceed on claims for denial of access to his religious prayer items.

In Banks v. Beard, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99905 (MD PA, July 17, 2013), a Pennsylvania federal district court, while denying most of the discovery requests by a Muslim inmate in a suit over holiday meals and prayer oils, ordered prison officials to provide plaintiff a breakdown by category of the 42 grievances based on religious issues filed by inmates during a 4-year period.