Sunday, February 05, 2012

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Johnson v. Hetzel, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9033 (MD AL, Jan. 26, 2012), an Alabama federal district court adopted a federal magistrate's recommendations (2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152440, Dec. 12, 2011) and dismissed a Muslim inmate's claim that on one occasion while in a restricted privileges dorm he was not allowed to attend a Friday Jumah service.

In Bartholomew v. Moore, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10031 (ED CA, Jan. 26, 2012), a California federal magistrate judge recommended rejecting a Muslim inmate's complaint that his free exercise rights were violated when a prison officials insisted that if he wanted to work in the prison's metal fabricating plant he would be required to work on Fridays and miss Jumah services. The court also rejected the claim that plaintiff was not rehired in the prison job because he is a Muslim.

In Ryidu-x v. Wolfe, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11546 (D MD, Jan. 31, 2012), a Maryland federal district court rejected an inmate's claim that his constitutional rights were violated when authorities denied him mail order privileges, commissary items, and access to his prison records because of his use of his legally-recognized religious name.

In Sloane v. Neveda, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10400 (D NV, Jan. 30, 2012), a Nevada federal magistrate judge granted a Jewish inmate's motion to amend his complaint to add a free exercise claim against a shift supervisor who allegedly failed to protect Plaintiff's constitutional right to observe Passover by assuring delivery of Seder supplies on time and his right to eat only kosher for Passover meals. The court refused to permit amendments to add various equal protection claims.

In Vann v. Fischer, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11052 (SD NY, Jan.26, 2012), a New York federal district court denied a TRO and temporary injunction to an inmate who is a Santeria Practitioner who claimed that he was disciplined for wearing religious beads in ways that do not conform to prison rules and that his picture was taken wearing his religious beads.

In Jones v. Williams, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152524 (D OR, Jan. 25, 2012), an Oregon federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152523, Oct. 28, 2011), and dismissed a Muslim inmate's claims that his free exercise rights were violated when he was served pork on one occasion, was ordered to cook pork as part of his kitchen duties, and when grills were not adequately cleaned after frying pork.

In Aladimi v. Hamilton County Justice Center, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12283 (SD OH, Feb. 1, 2012), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing on statute of limitations and other pleading grounds a Muslim inmate's complaint that he was denied the right to pray 5 times a day, harassed when he attempted to pray and subjected to offensive remarks by clergy of other faiths who visited the jail where he was housed. The magistrate also recommended denying plaintiff's motion to file a second amended complaint.

In Mestre v. Wagner, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12093 (ED PA, Jan. 31, 2012), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed a Buddhist inmate's complaint that there was a 7-week delay in obtaining completely vegan meals.

In Johnson v. Nash, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11118 (D NV, Jan. 31, 2012), a Nevada federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152580, Sept. 1, 2011) and denied a Muslim inmate's request for a preliminary injunction against retaliatory cell searches. Plaintiff claimed that defendants destroyed his prayer rug by throwing four cartons of milk on it, and shipped out his copy of Islam in Focus because it was an Islamic book.

In Roy v. Dominguez, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11230 (ND IN, Jan. 31, 2012), an Indiana federal district court dismissed a former inmate's complaint that while in jail officials would not schedule Jehovah's Witness chapel services, but allowed plaintiff to move ahead with his claim that jail authorities made it difficult for his minister to give him spiritual guidance. NWI Times reports on the decision.