Prisoner free exercise cases – June 18, 2018

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Dent v. Dennison, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90043 (SD IL, May 30, 2018), an Illinois federal district court allowed an inmate to move ahead with his claim that he was excluded from 3 Protestant religious services in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment claim against a volunteer pastor at the prison for his anti-LGBT comments.

In Garner v. Lisenbe, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90682 (ED MO. May 31, 2018), a Missouri federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that space formerly used for religious services was turned into housing units.

In Ervin v. Foxwell, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91805 (D MD, June 1, 2018), a Maryland federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he was served sausage with pork products in it for breakfast on one day.

In Savastano v. LaClair, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93435 (ND NY, May 31, 2018), a New York federal magistrate judge recommended allowing a Muslim inmate to move ahead to seek injunctive relief on his complaint that there is no imam on staff and that he is denied a diet consistent with his religious beliefs.

In Estes v. Clarke, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94322 (WD VA, June 5 2018), a Virginia federal district court granted summary judgment to a Jewish inmate who complained that the common fare diet does not meet the requirements for kosher food. It dismissed challenges regarding Passover, use of a Shofar and observance of fast days.

In Hill v. Tanner, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94220 (ED LA, June 4, 2018), a Louisiana federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95190, May 10, 2018) and held that mandatory streaming of religious services on all unit TV sets 3 times per week does not violate the Establishment or Free Exercise Clause.

In Banks v. Cuevas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95217 (ND OH, June 6, 2018), an Ohio federal district court, in  a suit by a Wiccan inmate who claimed interference with the practice of his religion and retaliation, held that a Bivens action for damages is not available in prisoner free exercise cases.

In Amon-Ra v. Ryan, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96011 (D AZ, June 5, 3018), an Arizona federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that  he was denied a special meat for the Eid at the conclusion of Ramadan, that prison officials were one day off for their announced beginning of Ramadan and he ws not initially placed on the Ramadan turnout.

In Vick v. Core Civic, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97658 (MD TN, June 11, 2018), a Tennessee federal district court, in a prisoner suit primarily focusing on other issues, held that an inmate can move ahead with his complaint that prisoners are not allowed to attend any religious services while housed in the RCA pod.

In Hargrove v. Frisby, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98017 (SD OH, June 12, 2018), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a Muslim inmate’s complaint that while in disciplinary segregation for 3 months he could attend only 1 of the 2 types of Muslim religious services each week.