Prisoner free exercise cases – December 29, 2013

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Jenkins v. Urbina, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169072 (ED CA, Nov. 22, 2013), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed a claim by an inmate that his free exercise and RLUIPA rights were violated when a correctional officer took property that included Native American items such as beads, sewing needles, choker, and feathers, from plaintiff’s cell.

In Strickland v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179687 (SD TX, Dec. 23, 2013), a Texas federal district court permitted a Muslim inmate to proceed with his claim for declaratory and injunctive relief against one defendant. Plaintiff complains that he has been denied halal meals or the kosher diet provided to Jewish inmates.

In Strong v. Livingston, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179009 (SD TX, Dec. 20, 2013), a Texas federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179856, Oct. 17, 2013) and granted a preliminary injunction to allow a Muslim inmate to wear a one-quarter inch beard.

In Williams v. Fluaitt, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179999 (ED WA, Dec. 23, 2013), a Washington federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180003, Nov. 4, 2013) and dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that his rights were violated when he was not given special Ramadan meals in 2011 because he failed to comply with the sign-up procedure to participate.

In Rupe v. Beard, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180415 (ED CA, Dec. 23, 2013), a California federal district court dismissed a Druid inmate’s complaints that prison authorities failed to provide facilities for Druid worship such as a sweathouse, fire pit and food for Druid feasts; did not allow Druids on space provided for Pagan worship and instead required Durids to worship in the general population yard, and did not provide Pagan chaplains.