Thursday, March 14, 2019

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Hatton v. Piper2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32219 (D MN, Feb. 28,2019), a Minnesota federal district court adopted with modifications a magistrate's report (2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33010, Jan. 23, 2019) and dismissed complaints by civilly committed sex offenders that they were not permitted to attend Native American religious services.

In Long v. Somerset County Jail2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33508 (D NJ, March 4, 2019), a New Jersey federal district court dismissed, with leave to amend, a complaint by a Muslim pre-trial detainee that the jail did not permit Friday prayer services, had insufficient accommodations for Ramadan, did not provide prayer rules, kufis or prayer oil, and serve kosher instead of halal meals.

In Burtton v. Kenosha County Jail2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33830 (ED WI, March 4, 2019), a Wisconsin federal district court allowed a Jewish inmate to move ahead with his complaint that he was removed from the kosher meal program.

In Heid v. Mohr2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33895 (SD OH, March 4, 2019), in a lengthy opinion, an Ohio federal district court in denying a preliminary injunction upheld a prison's prohibiting inmate access to material of the Christian Separatist Church. The judge also denied a motion for recusal.

In Mason v. Ryan2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33962 (D AZ, March 4, 2019), in a footnote in an opinion dealing largely with other matters an Arizona federal district court rejected an inmate's complaint that he was denied access to religious programs and services.

In Young v. Rodriguez2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34235 (ED CA, March 4, 2019), a California federal magistrate judge refused to grant summary judgment to defendants on a Rastafarian inmate's 1st and 14th Amendment claims growing out of the refusal to allow him to wear his Crown into the prison visitation room.