Prisoner free exercise cases – March 14, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Wilson v. Soto, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27449 (CD CA, March 2, 2016), a California federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27451, Jan. 21, 2016) and allowed a Muslim inmate to proceed on a RLUIPA claim for equitable relief growing out of a strip search in the presence of female prison staff. Other claims were dismissed, but some with leave to amend. Plaintiff was required to file an amended complaint in order to move ahead.

In Seina v. Federal Detention Center Honolulu, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28544 (D HI, March 7, 2016), a Hawaiian federal district court dismissed a Native American inmate’s claim that his right to properly conduct an American Indian Pipe Ceremony was severely hindered because he was not treated for his medical condition (hypertension).

In Hill v. Management Training Corp., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28686 (SD MS, March 7, 2016), a Mississippi federal magistrate judge dismissed a Catholic inmate’s complaint that because of an expansive lock down, during the one year period of his incarceration he was only able to attend one religious service.

In Johnson v. Nevada Department of Corrections, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29355 (D NV, March 7, 2016), a Nevada federal district court permitted a Muslim inmate to proceed with claims that his kufi was confiscated, he was denied halal meals and was not served meals on the Ramadan schedule on time.

In Mujahid Ta’Lib Din v. Albritton, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29676 (ND CA, March 8, 2016), a California federal magistrate judge permitted a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his complaint that Muslim congregational prayers during open day room hours were improperly limited.

In Vega v. Hardy, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29911 (ND IL, March 9, 2016), an Illinois federal district court permitted an African Hebrew Israelite inmate who had taken a Nazirite vow to move ahead with his complaint that the warden would not permit him to grow a kouplock as part of his hairstyle.