Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Adegbuji v. Green, (3d Cir., May 19, 2008), the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that the free exercise rights of an INS detainee were not violated when he was limited to attending only one religious class or service per week while in custody.

In Tayr Kilaab Al Ghashiyah v. Litscher, (7th Cir., May 15, 2008), the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's dismissal of three sets of free exercise claims by a prisoner-- that he was not permitted to use only his religious name when filing grievances and sending mail, that he could not obtain food that complied with his religious requirements, and that he was denied access to religious property and the use of prayer oil.

In Harris v. Alves, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40180 (ED WA, May 19, 2008), a Washington federal district court rejected a prisoner's free exercise and RLUIPA challenges to a prison rule that did not allow him to leave his desk to pray during a computer class, but instead limited him to praying silently at his desk, or praying before or after class or during the class break. The court also rejected an equal protection complaint regarding the denial of plaintiff's right to change his work schedule and to take certain educational classes.

In Schipke v. Chapman, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40287 (ND TX, May 19, 2008), a Texas federal district court rejected a federal prisoner's religious objection to prison authorities collecting a DNA sample from her as required by federal law.

In Waff v. Reisch, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39710 (D SD, May 14, 2008), a federal magistrate judge refused an indigent pro se prisoner's request for appointed counsel in his lawsuit challenging a denial of access to a kosher diet.