Prisoner free exercise cases – July 18, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Johnson v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90255 (MD PA, July 11, 2016), Muslim inmates alleged various interferences with their ability to pray 5 times per day.  A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a number of the claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and dismissing on the merits a claim that plaintiff is not allowed to pray while in the prison library and while at his adult education classes.

In Lane v. Tavares, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91052 (MD PA, July 12, 2016), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended that a Muslim inmate be allowed to proceed with his complaint that authorities have failed to accommodate his religious needs.  He often cannot attend Friday Prayers because his heart condition prevents him from climbing the five flights of stairs to reach the chapel.

In Giraldes v. Beard, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91205 (ED CA, July 13, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge, denying a preliminary injunction, rejected a Catholic inmate’s claim that denial of conjugal visits infringed his free exercise rights and his rights under RLUIPA.

In Roberts v. Perry, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91639 (WD NC, July 14, 2016), a North Carolina federal district court allowed an inmate to proceed with his complaint that authorities refuse to recognize Nation of Israel as an approved faith group and that inmates are limited to ten religious publications.

In Allah v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91939 (WD VA, July 15, 2016), a Virginia federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that the file from his litigation that included much Nation of Gods and Earths material was seized by prison authorities.