Prisoner free exercise cases – August 22, 2017

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Chaparro v. Ducart, (9th Cir., Aug. 14, 2017), the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an inmate’s complaint that he was removed from the chapel ducat list for failing to attend a chapel service.

In Rush v. Malin, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126529 (SD NY, Aug. 9, 2017), a New York federal district court reinstated a claim against a prison chaplain for failing to submit the Eid ul-Fitr event packet for the Shi’a Muslim inmates in 2014.

In Robinson v. Cate, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126557 (ED CA, Aug. 8, 2017), a California federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing as moot a Muslim inmate’s religious diet claims because recent changes in regulations now allow him to opt for either a kosher of Halal-compliant diet.

In Thomas v. Bzoskie, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129512 (D MN, Aug. 14, 2017), a Minnesota federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130019, May 8, 2017) and dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that authorities refused to permit Muslim communal worship and refused to allow him to wear a kufi or keep a prayer rug or prayer oil in his cell.

In Rivera v. Michigan Department of Corrections, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128973 (WD MI, Aug. 14, 2017), a Michigan federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129768, July 13, 2017) and dismissed complaints by an inmate over refusal to allow mail from Moorish Science Temple of America-1928 Grand Body, and telling plaintiff to tear up his religious preference form listing that group.

In Dyson v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130184 (D DC. Au. 15, 2017), a D.C. federal district court dismissed as no properly the subject of a habeas corpus action an inmate’s complaint that he was forced to consume fluids and provide a urine sample while he was fasting for Ramadan.

In Carter v. Myers, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130286 (D SC, Aug. 15, 2017), a South Carolina federal district court allowed plaintiff to move ahead with her claim for nominal damages and injunctive relief growing out of jail authorities requiring her to remove her hijab for her booking photo. The magistrate’s recommendation in the case is at 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130581, July 5, 2017.

In Tanksley v. Litscher, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130340 (WD WI, Aug. 15, 2017), a Wisconsin federal district court in a lengthy opinion upheld prison officials’ refusal to allow an inmate serving a long sentence for sexual assault of a child to obtain Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn  Initiatory Tarot cards because some of the cards depict nude human figures.

In Irvin v. James, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130810 (ED CA, Aug. 15, 2017) a California federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a list of claims by a Muslim inmate relating to denial of chapel access, denial of religious foods (including dates), denial of prayer oil, kufis and religious packages, and failure to hire a Muslim chaplain.

In Bynum v. Poole, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131063 (MD NC, Aug. 17, 2017), a North Carolina federal magistrate judge recommended denying summary judgment to a Muslim inmate who complained about cancellation of a Jumah Service on one Friday.