Sunday, November 30, 2008

Recently Available Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Holloway v. Bizzaro, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94861 (SD FL, June 27, 2008), a Florida federal magistrate judge recommended dismissal of an inmate's damage claim. Plaintiff claimed that denial of pork-free meals violated of his religious rights. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, however, plaintiff can recover compensatory damages only if he suffered a physical injury.

In Abobkr v. Mills, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95973 (D MS, Nov. 17, 2008), a Mississippi federal magistrate judge recommended dismissal of claims by a Muslim inmate that he was not allowed to lead Muslim prayer services and was forced to pray behind another less knowledgeable prisoner, and that on two occasions he was prevented from praying in the law library.

In two opinions in Foster v. Ouachita Correctional Center, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96513 (WD LA, Sept. 22, 2008) and 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96523 (WD LA, Oct. 30, 2008), a Louisiana federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing complaints by a Muslim prisoner that prison officials refused to "provide assistance" to Muslim inmates in their obligation to fast and read scripture during Ramadan; refused to set up a worship program for Muslims; and refused to furnish Muslims a non-pork diet. He also alleged that during Ramadan Muslims were required to attend Christian programs.