Sunday, January 25, 2015

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Davila v. Marshall, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6167 (SD GA, Jan. 20, 2014), a Georgia federal magistrate judge dismissed on mootness and qualified immunity grounds an inmate's complaint that he was denied a Santeria bead necklace and his bible.

In Greybuffalo v. Wall, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6566 (WD WI, Jan. 21, 2015), a Wisconsin federal district court dismissed, with leave to amend, an inmate's complaint that prison authorities refused to recognize the Native American Church as an umbrella religious group.

In Sims v. Biter, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6779 (ED CA, Jan. 21, 2015), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed on qualified immunity grounds a warden's denial of a legal religious name change to an inmate where the change could interfere with sex offender registration requirements.

In Planker v. Christie, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6804 (D NJ, Jan. 20, 2014), a New Jersey federal district court dismissed without prejudice an "Organic Odian" inmate's complaints about scheduling and access to religious services and ritual items, about a required TB test, and about racist and pro-Islamic comments made to him.

In Furnace v. Gipson, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6879 (ED CA, Jan. 20, 2015), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend claims by an inmate that authorities restricted his ability to practice Shetaut Neter in the prison's Special Housing Unit by preventing a name change and ordering of spiritual items, and by denying communal worship, observance of Neterian holidays and access to a Neterian chaplain.

In Gee v. Sabol, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6891 (MD PA, Jan. 21, 2015), a Pennsylvania federal district court denied a temporary restraining order to an inmate who was refused kosher meals because. while claiming he is Jewish, at other times had stated that he was Muslim or had no faith.

In Dennison v. Ryan, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7334 (D AZ, Jan. 16, 2015), an Arizona federal magistrate judge passed on a number of discovery requests by an inmate suing to obtain a diet consistent with his Seventh Day Adventist faith.

In Muhammad v. Mathena, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7330 (WD VA, Jan. 22, 2015), a Virginia federal district court held that the prison's Common Fare diet substantially accommodates the religious dietary needs a Nation of Islam inmate.

In Thompson v. Boldt, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7349 (CD CA, Jan. 21, 2015), on remand from the 9th Circuit, a California federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180795, Aug. 22, 2014) and dismissed a complaint by a pre-trial detainee who had become and adherent of Assemblies of Yahweh that he was denied a religious diet, access to a religious leader, service and other religious items, as well as the ability to observe holy days and feasts.

In Hammond v. Department of Corrections, 2015 Mich. App. LEXIS 105 (MI App., Jan, 22, 2015), a Michigan state appellate court dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies an inmate's objections to a policy change that called for prisoners seeking a kosher diet to receive vegan meals.