Prisoner free exercise cases – January 4, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Harvey v. Gonzalez, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172056 (D CO, Dec. 28, 2015), a Colorado federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172057, Nov. 24, 2015) and permitted a Muslim inmate to move ahead with this complaint that his copy of the Qur’an was confiscated and he was refused a replacement copy.

In Hill v. Gramiak, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172150 (SD GA, Dec. 28, 2015), a Georgia federal magistrate judge recommended permitting a Buddhist inmate to move ahead with complaints that the mail room refused to deliver religious literature sent to him, while prisoners of other faiths could receive a Bible or a Qur’an.

In Wagner v. Worsham, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172704 (ED MO, Dec. 29, 2015), a Missouri federal district court dismissed a Mormon inmate’s complaint that prison authorities classify the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a General Christian group, instead of giving it a separate category.

In Hoskins v. Red Onion State Prison, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173107 (WD VA, Dec. 30, 2015), a Virginia federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaints that there was a delay in delivering religious materials mailed to him, that the prison does not provide Jewish or Messianic Jewish services, and the chaplain did not provide him with a number of religious items he requested.

In Perez v. Watts, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173384 (SD GA, Dec. 31, 2015), a Georgia federal magistrate judge recommended allowing an inmate to move ahead (except on certain damage claims) on his complaint that prison authorities truncated the “Spiritual Mass” ceremony for Santeria practitioners by not allowing each individual a half cut cigar, and authorities refused to order Santeria supplies including bead necklaces with Ache.