Sunday, May 22, 2011

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Williams v. Bradford, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51879 (D NJ, May 13, 2011), a New Jersey federal district court dismissed, without prejudice, an inmate's claims that his rights under the 1st, 14th and 8th amendments as well as RLUIPA were violated when  the coordinator of the prison's NuWay Program made mocking remarks about Islam and mimicked an Arabic prayer. It also dismissed claims that supervisors failed to enforce rules of the NuWay program.

In Baker v. Pratt, 2011 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 573 (AZ Ct. App., Jan. 20, 2011), an Arizona appellate curt dismissed an inmate's complaint that his rights were violated when his meal schedule for kosher meals required him to eat breakfast and lunch at the same time on weekends.

In Freeman v. Julious, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52604 (ED CA, May 6, 2011), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed claims by an inmate, a practitioner of Satanism, that he was denied access to religious items, such as a satanic bible, and other materials and artifacts, and was denied access to a satanic clergyman.

In Ali v. Dewberry, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52765 (ED TX, May 17, 2011), a Texas federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52766, April 21, 2011) and dismissed a complaint by a Muslim inmate that his religious concerns about not helping others to eat pork were violated when he was assigned to work as a fork lift operator at a packing plant that slaughtered and processed pork. He was required to wrap boxes and move them with a fork lift.

UPI reported last week that after court rulings in a Muslim inmate's favor, Virginia's attorney general has settled a suit brought by Rashid Qawi al-Amin. The Corrections Department will place $2,5000 worth of Islamic materials in the Greensville Correctional Center's library and will hire a Muslim inmate to work in the library.