Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recent Prisoner Free Excercise Cases

In Zapata v. Brandenburg, (10th Cir., Aug. 25, 2008), the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a prisoner's claim that he was removed from a faith-based program because he refused to convert to a different faith. The lower court found that the removal was related to legitimate penological interests-- he was combative and threatening toward other inmates and staff.

In Hughes v. Banks, (8th Cir., Sept. 3, 2008), the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of a free exercise claim by a prisoner who alleged that when he refused to comply with staff-precaution procedures, he was not given meals. This caused him to miss meals during Ramadan.

In Baker v. Schriro, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66284 (D AZ, Aug. 20, 2008), an Arizona federal district court refused to dismiss a prisoner's claim that prison authorities destroyed his religious materials without any legitimate penological objective.