Prisoner free exercise cases – November 26, 2018

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Johnson v. Lassiter, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193660 (WD NC, Nov. 13, 2018), a North Carolina federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he was deprived of his religious literature and, when he said he needed his religious literature, he was told that Rastafarian or Moorish Science is not a real religion.

In Scott v. Lewis, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193870 (ED MO, Nov. 14, 2018), a Missouri federal district court allowed a Hindu inmate to move ahead with his RLUIPA action for an injunction for failure to accommodate his vegetarian religious diet.

In Collins v. Williams, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194187 (D SC, Nov. 13, 2018), a North Carolina federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194229, Oct. 18, 2018) and dismissed an inmate’s complaint that he was denied publications, right to attend gatherings and observe holy days of Nation of Gods and Earths because the group was improperly identified as a security threat group.

In Monroe v. Tyo, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195078 (ND NY, Nov. 14, 2018), a New York federal magistrate judge recommended that a former inmate who is Muslim be allowed to move ahead with his complaint that he was required to drink water to provide a urine sample for a drug test during Ramadan.

In Carpenter v. Itawamba County Jail, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195849 (ND MS, Nov. 16, 2018), a Mississippi federal magistrate judge concluded that restricting an inmate’s access to a Christian pastor when the inmate was not a Christian did not interfere with his free exercise rights.

In Richard v. Strom, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196327 (D CT, Nov. 19, 2018), a Connecticut federal district court allowed a Moorish-American inmate to move ahead with claims that he was not permitted to purchase a fez or receive a book, “Nationality, Birthrights and Jurisprudence.” However it dismissed his complaint that the Grand Mufti’s return address was torn from correspondence he received.

In Heritage Family Church, Inc. v. Kansas Department of Corrections, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197543 (D KA, Nov. 20, 2018), a Kansas federal district court denied a preliminary injunction to an inmate who claims that his religious exercise is burdened in various ways (including services, texts and clothing) by the refusal to recognize the Apostolic Faith.

In Hopper v. County of Riverside, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198877 (CD CA, Nov. 20, 2018), a California federal magistrate judge held that a former detainee’s complaint that he was unable to attend group religious services is subject to dismissal.