Prisoner Free Exercise Cases – August 11, 2013

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Williams v. Allen, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109388 (MD GA, Aug. 5, 2013), a Georgia federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110468, July 3, 2013) and permitted a Muslim inmate to proceed against the prison warden with his complaint that his free exercise rights were infringed when he was denied a nutritionally adequate vegan diet.

In Salim v. Carlson, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110459 (ED WI, Aug. 6, 2013), a Wisconsin federal district court, finding factual disputes, allowed a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his complaint that while in administrative segregation he was denied a Qur’an, and was denied a Salat schedule and clock, the opportunity to fast during Ramadan and to participate in feast day activities.

In Leach v. New York City, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110611 (SD NY, Aug. 2, 2013), a New York federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110658, March 6, 2013) and dismissed a suit by an inmate who claimed to be an “unorthodox [J]ewish religious observer”. Plaintiff complained that the City failed to provide him with Kosher Matzos on a regular basis and did not allow him to speak with a Rabbi on one occasion.

In Diggs v. Volpe, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111365 (SD NY, Aug. 7, 2013), a New York federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that for a 4-month period while in disciplinary confinement he was unable to attend congregate religious services.

In Vazquez v. Officer Waln, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111437 (MD NC, Aug. 7, 2013), a North Carolina federal magistrate judge dismissed RLUIPA, free exercise and equal protection claims by a Mexican-born Native American inmate who objected when Religious Box was confiscated because he failed to store it in his locker.

In Perry v. Knowles, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111617 (ED TN, Aug. 8, 2013), a Tennessee federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that the jail administrator confiscated his religious material and failed to tell him the time so he would know when to pray.

In Mead v. Palmer, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112291 (ND IA, Aug. 9, 2013), an Iowa federal district court permitted a civilly committed sex offender to proceed with his complaint that for two years authorities have refused to furnish him with a minister of his faith to minister to him in a Sunday service.