Prisoner free exercise cases – December 19, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Brooks v. Williams, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171453 (SD IL, Dec. 12, 2016), an Illinois federal district court allowed an inmate to move ahead with this complaint that he was denied access to Rastafari Sabbath services, but dismissed without prejudice has claim that he was denie access to a holy Piby religious text.

In Alamiin v. Patton, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172044 (WD OK, Dec. 13, 2016), an Oklahoma federal district court while dismissing a number of claims allowed an inmate to move ahead with his claim regarding an improper halal diet.

In Parkell v. Senato, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172419 (D DE, Dec. 13, 2016), a Delaware federal district court dismissed on qualified immunity grounds the two-year delay in furnishing kosher meals to an inmate whose religious beliefs combined Judaism and Wicca.

In Davies v. Toole, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172978 (SD GA, Dec. 14, 2016), a Georgia federal magistrate judge concluded that a Muslim inmate stated a colorable claim for injunctive relief and nominal damages for refusal to provide him a vegan diet. A preliminary injunction was denied.

In El-Shaddai v. Stainer, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173755 (CD CA, Dec. 13, 2016), a California federal district court dismissed complaints seeking accommodations for a kosher diet, religious name change, Messianic Hebrew religious services and ritual herbal smoking blends by an inmate claiming to be a practitioner of various occult traditions including the Hermetic Order of Melchizedek.

In Bey v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174301 (MD PA, Dec. 15, 2016), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended that an inmate who is an adherent of Moorish Science Temple of America be allowed to move ahead on his Establishment Clause challenge to a Therapeutic Community program, alleging it has a religious component.