Prisoner free exercise cases – January 28, 2019

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Gibson v. Miller, 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 155 (NJ App., Jan. 22, 2019), a New Jersey state appellate court rejected an argument from an inmate convicted of murdering a former girlfriend that the divorce obtained by his wife was invalid because under Catholic doctrine a marriage cannot be dissolved by any earthly authority.

In Harris v. Holmes, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10693 (D NJ, Jan. 23, 2019), a New Jersey federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaints about his diet during Ramadan, prayer time, access to prayer oils and wearing a kufi.

In Ruffin v. Baldwin, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10881 (SD IL, Jan. 23, 2019), an Illinois federal district court allowed a Jewish inmate to move ahead with claims that he was denied certified kosher meals for breakfast, denied assembly for religious services, and not allowed to wear his religious medallion.

In Tenison v. Byrd, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11620 (WD OK, Jan. 23, 2019), an Oklahoma federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220080, Dec. 28, 2018) and dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that he had been threatened about giving away his halal food tray and that Muslims were no longer able to pray on the day room floor.

In Massaquoi v. Morris, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10079 (MD PA, Jan. 18, 2019), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing an inmate’s claim that he was denied a religious exemption from the Department of Corrections’s haircut policy.