Sunday, October 20, 2013

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Sanchez v. Earls, (8th Cir., Oct. 16, 2013), the 8th Circuit dismissed an inmate's complaint that he was not allowed to possess his crucifix and chain because it was valued at over $100.

In Nance v. Miser, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144714 (D AZ, Oct. 7, 2013), an Arizona federal district court held that a Muslim inmate can move forward on his claim that he was denied a Halal diet with meat, and on his claim for damages for delay in granting him a shaving waiver.

In Ind v. Colorado Department of Corrections, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146717 (D CO, Oct. 10, 2013), a Colorado federal district court allowed an inmate who is a member of the Christian Separatist faith to move ahead with his claim that his religious freedom is infringed by restrictions on books, magazines and correspondence courses for prisoners in administrative segregation, and with his claim that he was classified as a member of a security threat group because of his religion.

In Shaw v. Hall, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145860  (MD GA, Oct. 9, 2013), a Georgia federal district court permitted a Muslim inmate to amend his complaint to pursue claims arising after the suit was originally filed involving denial of meals and medication before daylight during Ramadan. The court rejected defendants' claim that these cannot be raised because administrative remedies were not exhausted before the original filing of the lawsuit.

In Finn v. Medlin, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145361 (SD GA, Oct. 8, 2013), a Georgia federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145912, July 25, 2013) and dismissed an inmate's challenge to a rule barring insulin dependent diabetics from living in the faith-based dorm.

In LaPlante v. Lovelace, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145870 (WD MI, Oct. 9, 2013), a Michigan federal district court allowed an inmate to move ahead with a claim that his free exercise rights were infringed when he was not allowed to attend church services because of a no-contact order between him and another inmate, and a challenge to the jail's rule against receiving books, including a Bible, through the mail.

In Ford v. Bureau of Prisons, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147524 (MD PA, Oct. 11, 2013), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed a complaint by a Nation of Islam inmate that no break fast meals were provided on certain NOI holidays and that other impediments were placed in the way of practicing his religion.

In Jackson v. Keith, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146441 (WD LA, Oct. 9, 2013), a Louisiana federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146443, June 3, 2013) and dismissed an inmate's complaint regarding delays and a cancellation of call-outs for the Islamic Community of Winnfield.

In Clark v. Tucker, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147572 (MD FL, Oct. 11, 2013), a Florida federal district court dismissed with leave to amend an inmate's complaint that he was placed in confinement for four weeks without any clothes for speaking in tongues.