Prisoner free exercise cases – April 24, 2017

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Jenkins v. Campose, (9th Cir., April 21, 2017), the 9th Circuit, reversing the ditrict court in part, held that defendants failed to show that a prohibition on wudhu in one of the prison restrooms is rationally related to a legitimate and neutral governmental objective.

In Nevels v. Chapman, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59530 (ED AR, April 19, 2017), an Arkansas federal district court adopted a magistrate ‘s recommendation (2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59620, March 28, 2017) and dismissed an inmate’s complaint that on one occasion his lunch tray contained pork which he will not eat for religious reasons

In Goddard v. Alexakos, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57951 (ED KY, April 17, 2017), a Kentucky federal district court allowed an inmate to proceed with his complaint that authorities do not permit The Way (a non-Protestant Christian group) to hold separate worship services.

In Wright v. Hauffman, 2017 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 285 (PA Commw., April 21, 2017), a Pennsylvania appellate court reversed the dismissal of an inmate’s claim that Nation of Islam group religious services were not available.

In Hill v. Skrah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57279 (D OR, April 11, 2017), an Oregon federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57430, March 14, 2017) and dismissed on qualified immunity grounds an inmate’s complaint that he was not given kosher meals.

In Smith v. Wildermuth, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57318 (ND NY, April 14, 2017), a New York federal district court permitted a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his retaliation claim (but not his free exercise claim) stemming from his refusal to interrupt his prayer to respond to a corrections officer.