Prisoner free exercise cases – May 16, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Harvey v. Segura, (10th Cir., May 10, 2016), the 10th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an inmate’s complaint that authorities confiscated his  kufi.

In Vazquez v. Maccone, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60372 (ED NY, May 6, 2016), a New York federal district court held that plaintiff’s inability to kneel on the floor to silently pray while temporarily held in the squad room for arrest processing did impose a substantial burden on his religious exercise.

In Jones v. Arizona Department of Corrections, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60454 (D Z, May 5, 2016), an Arizona federal district court permitted a Muslim inmate to proceed with his complaint that he was not permitted to grow his beard longer than one-quarter inch, and that the feeding time for Ramadan began too late.

In Phillips v. Cobb, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60716 (WD LA, May 6, 2016), a Louisiana federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60717, April 4, 2016) and dismissed a complaint by a Muslim inmate that he was not allowed to attend congregational jumu’ah services, receive a prayer rug or kufi or receive adequate meals during Ramadan.

In Desmond v. Phelps, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61406 (D DE, May 9, 2016), a Delaware federal district court refused to dismiss, but ordered an amended complaint with a more definite statement of plaintiffs’ claims that authorities refused to allow Catholic inmates to worship, assemble, and celebrate on all religious holidays, and engaged in other sorts of retaliation.

In Jones v. Western Tidewater Regional Jail, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61425 (ED VA, May 6, 2016), a Virginia federal district court dismissed a complaint by a Rastafarian inmate that the food service provider and kitchen supervisor refused to serve him his religiously required vegan diet.

In Tillman v. Allen, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62260 (ED VA, May 9, 2016), a Virginia federal district court dismissed on various grounds a complaint by a Wiccan inmate that he could not attend Wiccan services, possess Wiccan objects or partake in the Common Fare diet.