Prisoner free exercise cases – May 7, 2018

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Warner v. Friedman, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70564 (ND CA, April 26,2018), a California federal district court allowed a Jewish inmate to move ahead with claims of violation of a settlement agreement reached in his prior litigation regarding a kosher diet.

In Wilkins v. Macomber, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70586 (ED CA, April 26, 2018), a California federal magistrate judge dismissed an inmate’s complaint regarding access to kosher meals and Jewish religious services, but with an an opportunity to amend his complaint to clarify his allegations as to religious services.

In Long v. California, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72460 (ED CA, April 30, 2018), a California federal magistrate judge rejected a civil detainee’s claim that anyone who follows Jesus Christ should be allowed to rule over the world, and his request to be released so he can do so.

In Nelson v. Hjorth, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73825 (D NE, May 2, 2018), a Nebraska federal district court allowed a pre-trial detainee to move ahead with her complaint that she was denied access to newspaper and magazine subscriptions, but dismissed her complaint that religious and spiritual publications are banned and that inmates attending Protestant Bible study are not allowed to attend Catholic religious services.

In Rafiq v. United States, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73771 (WD LA, April 30, 2018), a Louisiana federal magistrate judge gave a Muslim inmate 30 days to amend his complaint to cure pleading deficiencies.  The suit complains of access to clergy, religious classes, congregate worship and Ramadan observance, and of favoritism to Christianity in holiday decorations.

In Smith v. Davis, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75567 (D WV, May 4, 2018), a West Virginia federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75795, April 10, 2018), and dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that he was not served hot meals on three days during Ramadan.

In Mayo v. Cameron, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75822 (WD PA, May 2, 2018), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a Baptist inmate’s complaint that he was not permitted to purchase a Crucifix  because it was identified as a Catholic religious article.