Prisoner free exercise cases – August 1, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Mayo v. County of York, (3d Cir., July 25, 2016), the 3rd Circuit (via a footnote) affirmed dismissal of an inmate’s complaint that a package containing a Bible was initially rejected as overweight.

In Salas v. Gomez, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96769 (ND CA, July 25, 2016), a California federal district court allowed a Jewish inmate to move ahead with claims against various defendants as to the adequacy of the kosher diet furnished him and the refusal to transfer him to a different prison that could meet his religious needs more generally.

In Long v. John Does 1-3, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96859 (D HI, July 25, 2016), a Hawaii federal district court held that a Muslim inmate’s complaint that he was not provided early meals during Ramadan states a claim, but that he must identify the John Doe defendants through interrogatories in order to move ahead.

In Parkell v. Senato, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97903 (D DE, July 26,2016), a Delaware federal district court permitted an inmate who practices a faith that combines Wicca and Judaism to move ahead with his 1st Amendment and equal protection claims regarding past refusal to furnish him a kosher diet.

In Rivera v. Stirling, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97947 (D SC, July 27, 2016), a South Carolina federal district court dismissed under the “three strikes” rule a suit by a Muslim inmate complaining that he did not receive a vegetarian diet. The magistrate’s recommendation is at 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98082, June 24, 2016.

In Hastings v. Thomas, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98161 (MD AL, July 26, 2016), an Alabama federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing for failure to exhaust administrative remedies a complaint by a Native American inmate that his religion was impeded.