Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In McCroy v. Douglas County Corrections Center, (8th Cir., Sept. 14, 2010), the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Muslim prisoner's complaint that during a search for extra unauthorized linens, officers confiscated a towel he used as a prayer rug and a copy of the Koran, and that the items were not returned to him for two weeks.

In Anderson v. Craven2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96058 (D ID, Sept. 14, 2010), an Idaho federal district court rejected an inmate's challenge to the Therapeutic Community program as being religious in nature. 

In Colvin v. Martin2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96196 (WD MI, Sept. 15, 2010), a Michigan federal district court rejected defendants' claims of qualified immunity in a prisoner's suit complaining about authorities' refusal to reinstate him to the Kosher meal program. The magistrate's recommendation in the case is at 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96266, Aug. 16, 2010.

In Strope v. Cline2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96571 (D KA, Sept. 15, 2010), a Kansas federal district court rejected an inmate's claim that his rights under the free exercise clause and RLUIPA were violated when authorities removed beef, tomatoes and cucumbers from the "common fare" diet and frequently served peanut butter.

In LaPointe v. Walker2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96776 (SD IL, Sept. 15, 2010), a Christian inmate who kneels and prays once a day was using a rug to do so because of his arthritis. In 2006 his rug was confiscated during a compliance check because prayer rugs are required by the Muslim faith but are not a component of Christianity.  An Illinois federal magistrate judge rejected plaintiff's free exercise, equal protection and RLUIPA claims concluding that the lack of a prayer rug did not substantially burden plaintiff's free exercise of religion.

In Rosenberg v. Lappin2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96771 (CD CA, Sept. 14, 2010), a federal court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2010 U.S. Dist LEXIS 96602, Sept. 10, 2010) and dismissed plaintiff's claim that his rights were infringed when he was temporarily suspended from his kosher diet after a report that he had not complied with the terms of the program. Plaintiff was given leave to amend to allege undue delay in restoring him to the program.

In Alster v. Goord, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96793 (SD NY, Sept. 10, 2010), a New York federal district judge rejected a Jewish inmate's free exercise and RLUIPA claims that an officer refused to transport him to one religious service and that his Kosher meals were repetitive, improperly handled, sometimes forgotten, and not provided in the clinic.

In Laird v. Sibbett2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97373 (D UT, Sept. 16, 2010), a Utah inmate convicted repeat sex offenses against children argued that the Parole Board had impermissibly considered his religious beliefs and his desire to become a minister, and argued that the Parole Board gives preference to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A Utah federal district court found no evidence that plaintiff's conflicts with Sex Offender Treatment Program personnel and the Parole Board were religious in nature.

In Taylor v. Ozmint2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97202 (D SC, Sept. 16, 2010), a South Carolina federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97278, Aug. 9, 2010) and rejected an inmate's complaint that his free exercise rights and his rights under RLUIPA were infringed by the Department of Corrections policy that prohibits inmates in the Special Management Unit from receiving newspapers, magazines or books through the mail.