Prisoner free exercise cases – December 12, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Pickering v. California Department of Corrections, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167867 (ED CA, Dec. 5, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing an inmate’s claims that defendants have hindered the practice of his Astru/Odinic faith. However the court recommended that plaintiff be allowed to proceed with his retaliation claim.

In Malone v. Selby, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168764 (SD IL, Dec. 6, 2016), an Illinois federal district court permitted an inmate to move ahead with a claim that a corrections official destroyed or discarded plaintiff’s Bible concordance.

In Lane v. Tavares, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168965 (MD PA, Dec. 7, 2016), a Pennsylvania federal district court accepted a magistrate’s recommendation and allowed a Muslim inmate to move ahead with a claim that the prison doctor intentionally interfered with his attempt to gain safe access to Friday Prayers.

In Alderson v. Kelley, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168233 (ED AR, Dec. 6, 2016), and Arkansas federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169173, Oct. 28, 2016) and dismissed an inmate’s complaint that his request to have a beard for religious reasons was previously denied.

In Willison v. Davis, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169241 (SD OH, Dec. 7, 2016), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a suit against the state Religious Services Administrator brought by an inmate who change his religion to Natsarim (Messianic Judaism) and was initially denied kosher meals and participation in the Passover feast.

In Quiero v. Muniz, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170733 (MD PA, Dec. 8, 2016), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended that an inmate be allowed to proceed with his challenge to a policy that denied him access to bible studies, church services, and chaplains while in the restricted housing unit.

In Young v. Biter, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170992 (ED CA, Dec. 9, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend an inmate’s complaint about his ability to practice his religion and denial of a kosher diet.