Tuesday, September 20, 2022

11th Circuit: Muslim Prison Chaplain Loses Suit Over Exclusions From Execution Chamber

In Maisonet v. Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, (11th Cir., Sept. 16, 2022), the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a suit by a Muslim volunteer Chaplain who claimed that his free exercise rights were infringed when he was prevented from being in the execution chamber when two inmates to whom he ministered were executed. The court held that the chaplain lacked standing to obtain declaratory or injunctive relief because he did not identified any death row inmate whose execution he will be unable to attend in the future. Alabama now allows chaplains in the execution chamber. The court concluded that the chaplain did have standing to pursue his claim for damages in the cases of the two inmates whose executions he was unable to attend previously. However qualified immunity shields defendants from liability.