Prisoner free exercise cases – August 16, 2015

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Ahmorae v. Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105329 (MD TN, Aug. 11, 2015), a Tennessee federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that on one occasion during Ramadan he was not served dinner.

In Sousa v. Wegman, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105420 (ED CA, Aug. 11, 2015), a California federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85208, June 29, 2015) and allowed an inmate to move ahead with his complaint that  he was repeatedly denied attendance at religious services, holiday celebrations, use of the sweat lodge, and formal recognition for his Mexican Indian faith.

In Pelayo v. Hernandez, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105521 (ED CA, Aug. 11, 2015), a California federal district court dismissed a Christian inmate’s complaint that he was not allowed to bring his pocket Bible with him into the dining hall.

In Jaquez v. Birch, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105818 (ND OK, Aug. 12, 2015), an Oklahoma federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he had not been able to see or talk with the jail chaplain.

In Frazier v. Cooper, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106707 (WD PA, Aug. 13, 2015), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies a complaint by an inmate who is a member of the Moorish Science Temple of America that his religious practice was being limited.

In Saif’Ullah v. Cruzen, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107490 and in Mohammad-Bey v. Cruzen, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107510 (ND CA, Aug. 13, 2015), a California federal district court permitted inmates to move ahead with their complaint that correctional officers would not allow Muslim inmates to pray in groups larger than four, despite a contrary ruling by the Religious Review Committee.