Monday, October 26, 2009

Recent Prisoner Free Excercise Cases

In Niemczynski v. Arpaio, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97786 (D AZ, Oct. 8, 2009), an Arizona federal district court refused to dismiss a former jail inmate's claim that his free exercise rights were violated when the sheriff ordered Christian Christmas music to be played continuously for over 10 hours per day.

In Joseph v. Fischer, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96952 (SD NY, Oct. 8, 2009), a New York federal dstrict court held that personal involvement of a defendant in the alleged substantial burden of plaintiff's exercise of religion is a prerequisite to stating a claim under RLUIPA, and that an official's denial of a grievance alleging a constitutional deprivation, without more, does not amount to personal involvement. Plaintiff's grievance concerned seizure of his religious material.

In Turner-Bey v. Indiana Department of Corrections, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97219 (ND IN, Oct. 10, 2009), an Indiana federal district judge held that a Muslim inmate's free exercise rights were not violated by a single incident of authorities inadvertently including pork ham on the Halal diet trays.

In Menefield v. Cate, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96447 (ED CA, Oct. 5, 2009), a California federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction requiring prison authorities to give a Muslim prisoner access to the prison's kosher diet pending the state's decision on implementing a Halal alternative.