Prisoner free exercise cases – November 6, 2017

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Bethel v. Jenkins, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22061 (6th Cir., Sept. 22, 2017), the 6th Circuit held that a district court correctly dismissed an Establishment Clause challenge, but should not have dismissed a free speech and procedural due process challenge, to a policy that barred inmate from receiving printed material ordered by a third party even directly from an approved vendor.

In Hargrove v. Holley, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180284 (SD OH, Oct. 31, 2017), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissal of an inmate’s claim that compelled schooling without an Islamic curriculum violates his free exercise rights.

In Harris v. Cooper, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181249 (ND CA, Nov. 1, 2017), a California federal magistrate judge allowed an inmate to move ahead against certain defendants with his claim that in a cell search his religious materials were confiscated as retaliation and part of a conspiracy to deny him parole because he is a Muslim.

In Maciejka v. Williams, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182842 (SD L, Nov. 2, 2017), a Florida federal magistrate judge recommended ordering plaintiff, a former inmate, to file an amended complaint if he wishes to move ahead with his rambling allegations that while confined he was kept from attending Catholic religious services, and could not celebrate holidays, see chaplains or priests or keep religious publications and religious items such as a rosary and scapular.