In Thompson v. Holm, (7th Cir., Jan 4, 2016), the 7th Circuit, reversing the district court, ruled that withholding a Muslim inmate's meal bags for two days during Ramadan constituted a substantial burden on his free exercise rights. The court, also rejecting several other defenses, urged the district court to appoint counsel for plaintiff on remand.
In Rosales v. Watts, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 267 (SD GA, Jan 4, 2016), a Georgia federal magistrate judge recommended that an inmate be allowed to proceed with many of his claims alleging that prison authorities truncated the "Spiritual Mass" ceremony for Santeria practitioners and refused to order Santeria supplies including bead necklaces with Ache. UPDATE: The magistrate's recommendations were adopted at 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33357, March 15, 2016.
In Michaels v. West, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1826 (ND WV, Jan. 7, 2016), a West Virginia federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174184, Nov. 25, 2015) and dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies an inmate's complaint that he was denied the vegetarian diet required by his Asatru religious beliefs.
In Todd v. CDCR, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1944 (ED CA, Jan. 7, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge recommended that, consistent with a remand from the 9th Circuit, the complaint by an inmate who was a minister in the White supremacist Creativity religion move ahead. Plaintiff complains about confiscation of religious material, failure to provide a fruitarian (or acceptable alternative kosher diet), placing of the Holy Books of Creativity on the banned list, and refusal to recognize Creativity as a religion.
In Young v. Rodriguez, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1965 (ED CA, Jan. 7, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge permitted a Rastafarian inmate to move ahead with his complaint that he was not permitted to wear his religiously required head covering-- a crown-- into the health care facility visiting room.
In Rezaq v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2288 (SD IL, Jan. 8, 2016), an Illinois federal district court permitted a Muslim inmate to proceed under RFRA (but not under the 1st Amendment) complaining that prison authorities did not have a pre-dawn morning pill line during Ramadan.
In Wallace v. Mayfield, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1137 (ED AR, Jan. 6, 2016), an Arkansas federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174100, Dec. 14, 2015) and denied a preliminary injunction to an inmate who claimed his free exercise rights were infringed when he was forced to shave his beard and cut his hair. Plaintiff sought to enjoin retaliation for filing the lawsuit.
In Coleman v. Lincoln Parish Detention Center, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2633 (WD LA, Jan. 7, 2016) a Louisiana federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174236, Dec. 7, 2015) and dismissed a Muslim inmate's complaint that he was denied the right to participate in weekly Jummah services and when he filed a grievance was transferred to another facility.