Prisoner free exercise cases – May 18, 2014

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Malipurathu v. Johnson, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64891 (ND OK, May 12, 2014), an Oklahoma federal district court permitted a Sikh inmate to proceed with his complaint that he was denied a Halal diet unless he changed his religious choice to Islam, and that he was not consistently being served halal meals that met his religious requirements even though he was put on a halal diet.

In Rodriguez v. Hubbard, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65165 (ED CA, May 9, 2014), a California federal magistrate judge recommended allowing a Native American inmate who was recognized as a sacred “pipe holder” to move ahead with his 1st, 8th and 14th Amendment claims growing out of the confiscation of religious items, an attack on him by other Native American inmates for not safeguarding the sacred pipe, and other infringements on his religious practices.

In Patterson v. Cate, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65182 (ED CA, May 8, 2014), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed with leave to amend a Mulim inmate’s complaint that he was not receiving three Halal meal per day.

In Maier v. Pall, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65270 (MD PA, May 13, 2014), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed the complaint of an Odinist inmate who was refused an exemption from the grooming policy as to hair and beard length, and was not allowed to possess runestones and a Thor’s hammer or observe holy days outside.

In Aron v. Green, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65287 (ND TX, May 12, 2014), a Texas federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that a corrections officer told him that he should not be a Muslim, and that destruction of his personal property and other harassment was retaliation because of his religion.

In Hayes v. Boone, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66420 (ED VA, May 14, 2014), a Virginia federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that his Common Fare religious diet was suspended temporarily when the prison experienced an influx of inmates from elsewhere evacuated because of Hurricane Irene.