Sunday, December 22, 2013

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Moore v. Cruse, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176071 (SD OH, Dec. 13, 2013), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissal of an inmate's complaint that his free exercise rights were infringed when an officer insisted that in order to wear religious headgear ("koofi") in the gym he must provide the proper religious affiliation paperwork.

In Beiler v. Jay County Sheriff, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176641 (ND IN, Dec. 17, 2013), an Indiana federal district court dismissed an inmate's complaint that the jail's policy that one-on-one clergy visits to be conducted via video monitor effectively denied him visits with his minister.

In Hall v. Sutton, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176115 (SD IL, Dec. 16, 2013), and Illinois federal district court modified and adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176858, Oct. 3, 2013) and dismissed a Muslim inmate's complaint that during Ramadan he was not given a bag meal to replace his missed lunch, and his complaint that in 2010 the Eid prayer service was held one day late.

In Gooden v. Muse, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176994 (WD VA, Dec. 17, 2013), a Virginia federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate's complaint claiming that an officer lied to him about whether bologna on his food tray contained pork.

In Simmons v. Adamy, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176993 (WD NY, Dec. 17, 2013), a New York federal district court dismissed an inmate's complaint that many of his library call-out times were scheduled in conflict with Ramadan, weekly Quranic classes and weekly Jumu'ah services.

In Chambers v. Roberts, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177261 (D KA, Dec. 18, 2013), a Kansas federal district court gave an inmate 30 days to cure the deficiencies in his complaint seeking access to a Sweat Lodge once a week instead of once a month and a personal Prayer Pipe with Sacred Tobacco daily instead of weekly. The court also denied class action status.

In Casey v. Pallito, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177237 (D VT, Dec. 18, 2013), a Vermont federal district court adopted in part a magistrate's recommendation (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178152, July 25, 2013), and dismissed an inmate's complaint over separating him from another inmate to whom he was providing religious counseling.  The action was taken to protect the other inmate from sexual predation. The court however allowed plaintiff to move ahead with a challenge to his being removed from his law library job.

In Rogers v. Stanback, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178412 (MD NC, Dec. 19, 2013), a North Carolina federal magistrate judge recommended denying a TRO and preliminary injunction sought to prevent prison authorities from confiscating from plaintiff's cell a photocopy of the Nation of Gods and Earth flag that plaintiff says he had in order to prove his legal claims.

In Depaola v. Virginia Department of Corrections, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178837 (WD VA, Dec. 20, 2013), a Virginia federal district court dismissed a Nation of Islam inmate's claim that he was denied the Eid-ul-Adha feast on one occasion and was denied a Christmas feast meal. The court allowed plaintiff to proceed with his complaints regarding a TB screening injection that contains alcohol; the common fare diet that he claims does not satisfy his religious beliefs; and food allegedly served under unsanitary conditions.

In Hickman-Bey v. Livingston, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179012 (SD TX, Dec. 20, 2013), a Texas federal district court granted a Muslim inmate preliminary injunction allowing him to grow a quarter-inch beard during the pendency of his lawsuit, and barring officials from harassing or retaliating against him.