Prisoner free exercise cases – November 27, 2017

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Brooks v. Walsh, (9th Cir., Nov. 22, 2017), the 9th Circuit upheld a qualified immunity defense in an inmate’s suit because “it would not have been clear to every reasonable official that it was unlawful to require Brooks to fill out a Faith Group Affiliation Declaration form in order to reinstate his participation in the Common Fare diet after Brooks’ voluntary withdrawal.”

In King v. Stach, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190788 (WD WA, Nov. 17, 2017), a Washington federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191891, Oct. 19, 2017) and dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that unsanitary conditions in his safety/ observation cell made it impossible for him to perform his prayers, and that a corrections officer told him that he would be better off praying to Jesus.

In Veach v. Henderson County Detention Center, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193177 (WD KY, Nov. 22, 2017), a Kentucky federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that on one occasion he was not given his Jewish meal tray.

In Rivera v. Davey, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193607 (ED CA, Nov. 22, 2017), a California federal magistrate judge ordered dismissal unless an amended complaint is filed of an inmate’s complaint that he was denied equal access to the facility’s chapel for Jewish prayer services and holy day events.