Prisoner free exercise cases – July 11, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Gilbert v. Fox, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86811 (D CO, June 9, 2016), a Colorado federal district court held that an inmate’s claim that his free exercise rights are violated by refusal to recognize his Nuwaupian Certificate of Live Birth Name is a challenge to conditions of confinement and cannot be decided in a habeas corpus proceeding.

In Gadbury v. California, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86891 (ED CA, July 1, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend an inmate’s attempt to obtain a vegetarian diet (which also meets his medical needs) for religious reasons.

In Ryan v. Graham, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87477 (ND NY, July 5, 2016), a New York federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a complaint by a Muslim inmate that his free exercise rights were infringed by limiting him to having eleven books in his cell while in special housing unit.

In Deen v. Albritton, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87607 (ND CA, July 6, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge allowed a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his complaint that Muslim inmates are not allowed to pray in groups of more than four.

In Davis v. Bateman, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88532 (ED PA, July 7, 2016), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he was denied access to attend religious services on four occasions. He had attended both Christian and Muslim services a total of 61 times.

In Pierre v. Geo Group, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88698 (MD GA, June 3, 2016), a Georgia federal magistrate judge recommended that a Muslim inmate be permitted to move ahead with his complaint that he was forced to shave rather than being allowed to grow a beard as required by his religious beliefs.