Prisoner free exercise cases – April 16, 2018

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Buckley v. Cook, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59987 (SD IL, April 9, 2018), an Illinois federal district court dismissed without prejudice an inmate’s complaint that the Alton County Jail did not offer formal religious services on Sundays. The court allowed him to proceed on certain unrelated claims.

In Little v. Guice, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59995 (WD NC, April 6, 2018), a North Carolina federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he was sanctioned for writing his cousin about the Moorish American faith.

In Chila v. Camden County Correctional Facility, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60547 ( NJ, April 9, 2018), a New Jersey federal district court dismissed a female Muslim inmate’s complaint that her hijab was taken from her, she was denied access to a Quran, and she could not leave her cell for religious worship.

In Johnson v. Bienkoski, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61560 (MD PA, April 10, 2018), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing without prejudice an inmate’s complaint that his religious beads were confiscated and his commissary privileges were restricted during Ramadan.

In Robertson v. Call, 2018 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 274 (KA App., April 13, 2018), a Kansas Court of Appeals agreed that a prison had not violated the Establishment Clause by limiting a Messianic Jewish inmate’s visits with his rabbi to interaction through video conferencing rather than allowing face-to-face visits. It also agreed that a visit by a Christian ministries group had not violated the Establishment Clause.