Prisoner free exercise cases – February 23, 2014

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Howard v. Connett, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19231 (D NV, Feb. 14, 2014), a Nevada federal district court refused to grant summary judgment to defendants on an inmate’s claims that Nation of Islam services are held only once monthly and he is not released regularly for other Muslim services[ on his claim that he was deprived of his Qur’an for 12 days while in disciplinary segregation; and on his claim of a conspiracy to deprive him of medical treatment based on animus toward his religion.

In Hoeck v. Miklich, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20381 (D CO, Feb. 19, 2014), a Colorado federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations in part and allowed an inmate to proceed with his claims against certain defendants complaining that the practices of his “Biblical Christian” faith were not accommodated.

In Karsjens v. Jesson, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20911 (D MN, Feb. 19, 2014), a Minnesota federal district court allowed plaintiffs to proceed with their claim that portions of the Minnesota civil commitment sex offender program violate their free exercise rights.  Plaintiffs claim they are monitored during religious services and private meetings with clergy, are not allowed to wear religious apparel or have certain religious property, are not allowed communal religious feasts and cannot receive Kosher or Halal meals.

In Rahman v. Fischer, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20846 (ND NY, Feb. 20, 2014), a New York federal district court adopted a  magistrate’s recommendation and dismissed a number of claims but permitted a Muslim inmate to proceed with his complaint that he was denied access to the sink to make ablution.

In Pelayo v. Hernandez, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20616 (ND CA, Feb. 18, 2014), a California federal district court dismissed with leave to amend an inmate’s complaint that he was prevented from entering the dining hall at breakfast because he was carrying a pocket Bible and thin Bible folder.

In Walker v. Artus, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21745 (ND NY, Feb. 21, 2014), a New York federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations and dismissed a complaint that Muslim inmates in the special housing unit are not allowed to attend