Prisoner free exercise cases – January 21, 2013

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Jordan v. Fuller, (10th Cir., Jan. 9, 2013), the 10th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a claim by an inmate claiming to be affiliated with a religion known as the Ever Increasing Faith alleging violation of his rights when he was refused a non-meat diet.

In Medina v. Youngblood2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5481 (ED CA, Jan. 14, 2013), a California federal magistrate judge permitted a Messianic Jewish inmate to pursue his claim for a kosher diet, but rejected his complaint he was denied religious literature.

In Lewis v. Skolnik2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6618 (D NV, Jan. 16, 2013), a Nevada federal district court allowed a Hebrew Israelite inmate to proceed with his equal protection challenge to a prison rule that limited kosher meals to inmates who obtained outside verification that they were Orthodox or Conservative Jews. Certain other claims were dismissed.

In Cunningham v. Womack2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6286 (WD KY, Jan. 15, 2013), a Kentucky federal district court dismissed a pre-trial detainee’s complaint, including a complaint that on one occasion he was told to leave the worship service he had attended numerous times before.

In Hewitt v. Morris2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6313 (D SC, Jan. 15, 2013), a South Carolina federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184677, Dec. 20, 2012) and awarded nominal damages of $1 plus costs to an inmate who complained that he was denied Vaisnavism (Krishna Consciousness) services and religious materials because the Department of Corrections refused to recognize Krishna Consciousness as a religion.

In Quinn v. Knab2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7804 (SD OH, Jan. 18, 2013), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended denying defendants’ claim that a Christian Identity inmate had not exhausted his administrative remedies in attempting to obtain accommodation of dietary and hair length needs so he could take a Nazarite vow.