Prisoner free exercise cases – May 1, 2017

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Jackson v. Sullivan,(9th Cir., April 12, 2017), the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an inmate’s RLUIPA complaint regarding restrictions on the wearing of dreadlocks.

In Clark v. Dodd, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62589 (MD TN, April 25, 2017), a Tennessee federal district court permitted a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his complaint that he was not delivered his package that contained a prayer rug, prayer cap, Quran and prayer oil.

In State Department of Corrections v. Todd, 2017 Tenn. App. LEXIS 223 (March 31, 2017), a Tennessee appellate court rejected an inmate’s argument that his religious freedom rights were violated when authorities appointed a limited medical conservatorship to consent to forcible treatment with psychotropic drugs.

In Grant v. Scalia, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56242 (ED CA, April 12, 2017), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend ad Muslim inmate’s complaint that rules requiring cell windows to be uncovered at all times interfered with his religious belief that he cannot appear naked in front of other men.

In Ross v. Director Butler County Detention Center, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55976 (D KA, April 10, 2017), a Kansas federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that authorities denied his request for a special Muslim diet during most of Ramadan, and deprived him of the right to group prayer during Ramadan.

In Burns v. Buncich, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55590 (ND IN, April 11, 2017), an Indiana federal district court held that material issues of fact an credibility that can only be resolved by a jury remain as to a Jehovah’s Witness inmate’s claims that authorities discriminated against Jehovah’s Witnesses in access to the chapel for group worship and in his ability to consult with ministers.