Prisoner free exercise cases – May 31, 2015

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Grief v. Ask-Carlson, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66653 (ED NY, May 21, 2015), a New York federal district court dismissed with leave to amend an inmate’s claim that he needs two stuffed animals to use in his practice of meditation that is part of his quest for spiritual enlightenment.

In Allah v. Wade, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66690 (ED NC, May 20, 2015), a North Carolina federal district court dismissed an inmate’s claim that his religious material was seized and declared contraband and non-religious.

In Shabazz v. Lokey, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67051 (WD VA, May 22, 2015), a Virginia federal district court permitted an inmate to move ahead with his claim that his Nation of Islam materials were seized and wrongly declared to be gang-related “Five Percenter” documents.

In Aytch v. Cox, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67180 (D NV, May 21, 2015), a Nevada federal district court granted a Muslim inmate a preliminary injunction ordering prison officials to provide him with a diet that complies with both the tenets of his Muslim faith and his low sodium medical needs.

In Quinn v. Management & Training Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68388 (SD MS, May 4, 2015), a Mississippi federal magistrate judge recommended that an inmate’s claim that officials refused to recognize Voodoo as his religion and to allow him access to written religious materials be dismissed as abandoned by plaintiff at the hearing.

In Winston v. Gray, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69388 (ED MO, May 29, 2015), a Missouri federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he is being denied kosher meals because he failed to comply with the court’s discovery order.

In Sessing v. Beard, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69916 (ED CA, May 28, 2015), a California federal magistrate judge vacated his earlier findings and recommendation to dismiss and gave plaintiff 30 days to file a new complaint alleging that Asatru/Odinists were arbitrarily denied access to the Native American fire pit and to a suitable worship area.

In Wahid v. Cruzen, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70036 (ND CA, May 28, 2015), a California federal district court allowed a Muslim inmate to proceed with his claim for nominal and punitive damages for authorities’ interrupting Muslim congregational prayer on one day.