Prisoner free exercise cases – June 1, 2014

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Funtanilla v. Williams, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71354 (ED CA, May 22, 2014), a California federal magistrate judge allowed a Seventh Day Adventist inmate housed at a substance abuse treatment center to move forward against most of the defendants with his complaint that he was not permitted to place a copy of the Ten Commandments above his door, get his meals for the Sabbath ahead of time or delivered, and attend worship services.

In Rivera v. Michigan Department of Corrections, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72325 (WD MI, May 28, 2014), a Michigan federal district court permitted Moorish Science inmate to proceed against certain of the defendants for an injunction to require recognition of  Moorish Science Temple of America-1928 as a separate religious group from Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc., (1934 Portion).

In Smart v. Aramark Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73106 (D NJ, May 29, 2014), a New Jersey federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that prison rules requiring inmates who work in the kitchen to shave their facial hair discriminates against Muslim, Jewish and Christian inmates who wear beards for religious reasons.

In Free v. Ellis, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73118 (D NJ, May 29, 2014), a New Jersey federal district court dismissed without prejudice an inmate’s claim that he was not allowed to attend religious services for a 15-month period.