Sunday, January 29, 2017

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Wilson v. Wetzel, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9011 (MD PA, Jan. 23, 2017), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed a claim by a Hebrew-Israelite inmate that he was wrongly denied kosher bag meals on the Fast of Gedaliah.

In Arnold v. Heyns, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8017 (ED MI, Jan. 20, 2017), a Michigan federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182603, Dec. 21, 2016) and dismissed an Orthodox Jewish inmate's complaint that he was served a vegan diet rather than a kosher diet that included meat. However it allowed him to move ahead with his claim that the vegan meals were not kosher because of cross-contamination.

In Dayton v. Lisenbee, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9459 (ED MO, Jan. 24, 2017), a Missouri federal district court held that "while RLUIPA allows official-capacity claims against prison officials, it does not authorize monetary damages based on those claims." However it allowed plaintiff to proceed on his individual-capacity constitutional claims for monetary relief.

In Husband v. Dougherty, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11609 (D AZ, Jan. 26, 2017), an Arizona federal district court dismissed an inmate's suit against two prison chaplains complaining that he was not granted a kosher diet during Passover, a daily kosher diet or a shaving waiver.

In Balcar v. Smith, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10899 (WD KY, Jan. 26, 2017), a Kentucky federal district court rejected an inmate's complaint that he is not being served chicken and pork because these meats do not comply with a Muslim diet.  He claimed this violates the Establishment Clause, the equal protection clause and RLUIPA.

In Ha'Keem v. Mesojedec, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11321 (D MN, Jan. 25, 2017), a Minnesota federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendation (2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182928, Dec. 29, 2016) and dismissed with leave to amend a suit by Muslims civilly committed in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program who object to restrictions on their use of prayer oil and numerous other actions that burden their exercise of religion.