Prisoner free exercise cases – August 2, 2015

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Shaw v. Toole, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97667 (SD GA, July 27, 2015), a Georgia federal magistrate judge recommended that a Muslim inmate’s complaint that he was denied a vegan diet be dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit.

In Sokolsky v. California, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97738 (ED CA, July 25, 2015), a California federal magistrate judge held that a Jewish civil detainee held as a sexually violent predator can proceed on his complaint against certain defendants regarding the lack of kosher food and religious discrimination if he files an amended complaint or notifies the court that he is willing to proceed on his cognizable claims.

In Pickering v. California Department of Corrections, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99137 (ED CA, July 28, 2015), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed, with leave to amend, an inmate’s claim that the Astru/Odinic religious group was not treated equally with other religious groups.

In Berry v. Hershberger, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99327 (D MD, July 30, 2015), a Maryland federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that he was not permitted to participate in the Ramadan fast, and was denied access to religious articles, based on his status as a pretrial detainee.

In Washington v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections, 2015 Ohio Misc. LEXIS 79 (OH Ct. Cl., July 14, 2015), the Ohio Court of Claims held that it does not have jurisdiction over an inmate’s complaint that he was denied halal/ kosher food.

In Williams v. Delaware, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99927 (D DE, July 30, 2015), a Delaware federal district court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint that while held for four days before posting bond– a period during Ramadan– he was not permitted to fast.