Prisoner free exercise cases – August 31, 2014

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Phillip v. Schriro, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117720 (SD NY, Aug. 22, 2014), a New York federal district court allowed a Muslim inmate to proceed with most of his claims that his free exercise rights were violated when he was denied participation in Friday Jumu’ah services while in punitive segregation.

In Vann v. Fischer, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118247 (SD NY, Aug. 25, 2014), a New York federal district court dismissed a complaint by a Santeria practitioner that his religious rights were violated by Directives requiring that he obtain approval to wear his religious beads, conceal them while wearing them, and not wear them while in transit.

In Moon v. Pratte, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118707 (ED MO, Aug. 26, 2014), a Missouri federal district court allowed a Muslim inmate to proceed with his claims for religious discrimination. Plaintiff had claimed denial of halal food, a clean place to pray, Islamic religious materials, and services or speakers.

In Ex parte Herrera, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 9511 (TX App., Aug. 26, 2014), a Texas state appeals court denied habeas corpus relief to petitioner, in pre-trial home confinement under charges of sexually assaulting a child, who was barred from attending church services as a condition of his electronic monitoring.

In Kyles v. Chartier, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119270 (D SC, Aug. 26, 2014), a South Carolina federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation and held that the religious exercise of a Hebrew Messianic Yisraelite inmate was not substantially burdened by allowing him to worship with the Jewish congregation but not in separate services.

In Hoeck v. Miklich, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119490 (D CO, Aug. 27, 2014), a Colorado federal district court denied injunctive relief to an inmate who claimed that authroties were preventing him from observing his religion of Biblical Christianity that has its own times for various holidays and its own dietary requirements. The court concluded that the relief requested either related to past events or was too vague to implement.

In Williamson v. Twaddell, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119566 (CD IL, Aug. 25, 2014), an Illinois federal district court permitted a Messianic Black Hebrew Israelite inmate to proceed with his complaint that he was denied kosher meals, access to Messianic service, baptism, a prayer cap and a ATanach@ religious book.

In Farrad v. Evans, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119704 (SD NY, Aug. 15, 2014), a New York federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he was denied Islamic services and ministerial consultation while he was in the prison’s medical ward.

In Lloyd v. City of New York, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119706 (SD NY, Aug. 4, 2014), a New York federal district court allowed Muslim inmates held at Rikers Island to move ahead with their complaint that they were not provided adequate or appropriate worship space, but dismissed their complaint that they were not furnished an adequate supply of religious materials.