Prisoner free exercise cases – November 19, 2012

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Owens v. Davies County Detention Center2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162003 (WD KY, Nov. 9, 2012), a Kentucky federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint of delays in feeding him breakfast during Ramadan, but allowed him to proceed on his claim of retaliation for filing grievances about the issue.

In Adams v. Davenport2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161853 (MD AL, Nov. 13, 2012), an Alabama federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162746, Oct. 5, 2012) and dismissed claims by a Native American inmate that requiring him to cut his hair violated his religious exercise rights. The court also rejected equal protection and retaliation claims.

In Vega v. Lantz2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163963 (D CT, Nov. 16, 2012), a Muslim inmate sued complaining that his request to be circumcised was denied, he was denied prayer oils, and Friday congregate prayer was frequently cancelled. A Connecticut federal magistrate judge held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on the damage claims against them, but that the case can proceed on its claims for injunctive and declaratory relief.