Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Smith v. Drawbridge, (10th Cir., March 18, 2019), the 10th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an Orthodox Jewish inmate's complaint that he received only a cold sack meal rather than a hot meal at the conclusion of the Fast of Tammuz.

In Newsome v. Fairley, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39138 (SD MS, March 12, 2019), a Mississippi federal district court adopted in part a magistrate's recommendations (2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40431, Jan. 28, 2019) and allowed an inmate who professed the Natsarim Faith to move ahead against two defendants on his complaint that he was denied a yeast free diet during Passover, and was denied immersion baptism and religious counseling.

In Wilson v. Virginia Department of Corrections, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41528 (ED VA, March 13, 2019), a Virginia federal district court dismissed a hearing impaired inmate's contention that his religious exercise was substantially burdened when officials refused to permit him to purchase a larger TV set so he can view religious programming with large closed captioning. His equal protection claim was not dismissed.

In Howard v. Polley, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41696 (D NV, March 13, 2019), a Nevada federal district court dismissed an inmate's complaint about different treatment of Muslim prisoners growing out of a shortage of imams to conduct Jumu'ah services in multiple housing modules.

In Arboleda v. O'Banion, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41907 (ED CA, March 14, 2019), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend an inmate's complaint that on one occasion he was denied access to a Jehovah's Witness religious service.

In Abreu v. Farley, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42801 (WD NY, March 15, 2019), a New York federal district court dismissed the portion of an inmate's 531 paragraph complaint claiming that he is Jewish and is entitled to be served "Kosher loaves." The court concluded that plaintiff's beliefs were not sincerely held.

In Brandon v. Royce, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42807 (SD NY, March 15, 2019), a New York federal district court rejected an inmate's claim that his free exercise rights were infringed when he did not receive a purportedly promised feed-in meal in exchange for his voluntarily not attending an oversubscribed Eid Celebration.

In Carawan v. Solomon, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43609 (ED NC, March 18, 2019), a North Carolina federal district court allowed a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his complaint that his requests were denied for congregational prayer beyond just Friday Jumu'ah services. The court dismissed his complaint that the prison had no Zakat fund that would eliminate the administrative fee for him to done funds to charity.