Prisoner free exercise cases – February 8, 2015

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Patterson v. Linderman, (9th Cir., Feb. 3, 2015), the 9th Circuit upheld an inmate’s suspension from the kosher meal plan for sharing or trading of food with other inmates.

In Karsjens v. Jesson, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11779 (D MN, Feb. 2, 2015), a Minnesota federal district court, in a suit challenging many aspects of the Minnesota Sexual Offender Program, permitted plaintiffs to move ahead with their claim that MSOP’s policies and practices restrict when and where plaintiffs may worship and limit their ability to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs.

In Stemple v. Shearin, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12253 (D MD, Feb. 2, 2015), a Maryland federal district court dismissed a Wiccan inmate’s complaints regarding the inadequacy of the previous location of Wiccan services and his 6-month suspension from congregate worship opportunities for rule violations.

In Woodstock v. Shaffer, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13158 (D CO, Feb. 4, 2015), a Colorado federal magistrate judge ordered plaintiff, a Messianic Jewish inmate, to file an amended complaint setting out the personal involvement of each defendant in the alleged failure to provide a kosher diet

In Trice v. Shearin, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13653 (D MD, Feb. 4, 2015), a Maryland federal district court permitted a Native American inmate to move ahead with his complaint that he was not permitted to attend congregate services and that Cherokee Native American religious services were not permitted in an outside grassy area as religiously required.

In Jackson v. Crawford, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14222 (WD NO, Feb. 6, 2015), a Missouri federal district court permitted an inmate to proceed with his complaint that his religious exercise was substantially burdened by the inability to list atheism as his religion.