Sunday, July 20, 2014

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Partlow v. CDCR, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94066  and Stamps v. CDCR, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94069  (ED CA, July 10, 2014), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend a complaint that Asatru/ Odonic inmates were denied access to the chapel and outdoor worship space and denied religious items.

In Stepler v. Warden, Hocking Correctional Facility, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94453 (SD OH, July 10, 2014), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a Jewish inmate's complaint that he was not provided a room for religious services and not provided kosher meals with enough calories.  UPDATE: The court adopted the magistrate's recommendation at 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117120 (Aug. 21, 2014).

In Morgan v. City of New York, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94693 (ED NY, July 10, 2014), a New York federal district court permitted plaintiff, a Rastafarian, to move ahead with his claim that his free exercise rights were infringed when his turban was removed at a police precinct after he was arrested.

In Martinez v. Vondewigelo, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95005 (WD KY, July 14, 2014), a Kentucky federal district court dismissed an inmate's complaint that he has been denied access to religious materials in Spanish.

In King v. Bosenko, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95649 (ED CA, July 11, 2014), a California federal magistrate judge permitted an inmate to move ahead with his claim that his Buddhist beliefs require a vegetarian diet which he was wrongfully denied.

In Dotson v. Shelby County, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95953 (WD TN, July 15, 2014), a Tennessee federal district court permitted an inmate to move ahead with his complaint that he did not receive a halal diet.  The court found that his claim fell within the "imminent danger" exception to the disqualification of three-strike prisoner suits filed in forma pauperis. The court dismissed plaintiff's claim that disposable razors had been replaced by electric clippers.

In Sangraal v. Godinez, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96056 (SD IL, July 14, 2014), an Illinois federal district court permitted a Pagan inmate to proceed with his complaint that the pentacle as a religious symbol was banned; use of tarot cards to practice divination was restricted; religious literature was selectively screened and he was subjected to overtly Christian messages.

In Bell v. Kennedy, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96115 (ED AR, July 15, 2014), an Arkansas federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96110, June 18, 2014) and denied a preliminary injunction against enforcing grooming regulations against a Rastafarian who adheres to the Nazarite Vow.