Prisoner free exercise cases – June 29, 2014

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Kaufman v. Pugh, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84532 (WD WI, June 20, 2014), a Wisconsin federal district court dismissed a complaint by a now-released prisoner that authorities refused to authorize an atheist study group. Injuntive relief was dismissed as moot, and a damage claim dismissed on qualified immunity grounds.

In Staple v. Commonwealth, 2014 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 388 (PA Commnw. Ct., June 26, 2014), the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court denied both a writ of mandamus and a declaratory judgment to an inmate seeking return of several religious books that were confiscated because he had altered him.

In Neal-El v. Beitzel, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84943 (D MD, June 23, 2014), a Maryland federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that for one week he was removed from the list of those permitted to attend Moorish Science Temple services while officials investigated an unfounded report that he was involved in activities jeopardizing security.

In Marron v. Miller, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86629 (WD VA, June 24, 2014), a Virginia federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that his religious books were confiscated as contraband because they were inscribed with his religious name rather than the name recognized by the prison system.