Thursday, November 19, 2020

10th Circuit Dismisses Objections To Attempted Search of Church

 In Aguilera v. City of Colorado Springs, (10th Cir., Nov. 18, 2020), the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a civil rights claim brought by the High Priestess/ Property Manager of Green Faith Ministry who objected to an attempt by a police officer and fire marshals to inspect the ministry's building. Officers apparently suspected marijuana usage or occupancy standard violations. The court rejected plaintiff's complaint that one officer told her to "praise the Lord." The court said in part:

Aguilera’s amended complaint does not allege facts indicating that an objective observer would view Officer Vargason’s purpose in saying “Praise the Lord” as an official endorsement of religion.

The court also rejected plaintiff's free exercise claim, concluding:

Aguilera has failed to allege that any defendant burdened her exercise of religious beliefs or practices.