Sunday, June 02, 2013

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Sims v. Wegman, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76243 (ED CA, May 29, 2013), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies a Nation of Islam inmate's complaint that he was not permitted to have the prison's Jewish kosher diet.

In Carmichael v. Geo Group, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76281 (ED CA, May 29, 2013), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend an inmate's complaint that he could not obtain Halal meat and was denied a transfer to a facility that could accommodate his religious needs.

In Barton v. Snaza, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77049 (WD WA, May 31, 2013), a Washington federal magistrate judge ruled that an inmate who alleged that two of his Asatru/Odinist books were confiscated and that he was not therefore able to perform "a sacred worship/ritual/ceremonial rite" had not adequately alleged a free exercise violation. However plaintiff was given an opportunity to file an amended complaint.

In Friedman v. Salt Lake County, (UT App., May 31, 2013), a Utah state appellate court dismissed a Jewish inmate's claim that his free exercise, due process and freedom from involuntary servitude rights were violated while he was a pre-trial detainee.  A jail officer instructed him to clean writing from his cell wall on a Saturday, plaintiff's Sabbath.