Prisoner free exercise cases – November 9, 2015

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Harris v. Cabe, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148843 (ND MI, Nov. 3, 2015), a Mississippi federal district court dismissed, for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, a Muslim inmate’s complaint that he was denied permission to attend religious services.

In Shabazz v. Giurbino, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149002 (ED CA, Nov. 2, 2015), a California federal magistrate judge permitted a Muslim inmate to move ahead against two defendants with his complaint that Muslims were served vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch, and a Halal meal only for dinner.  Three defendants were dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

In Dunn v. Catoe, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149146 (Nov. 3, 2015), a Texas federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149436, Oct. 16, 2015)  and permitted a Muslim inmate to proceed with his complaint about the policy that requires an outside volunteer before inmates can hold religious meetings, and his complaints over gang infiltration of religious meetings and insufficient food during Ramadan.

In Muniz-Savage v. Addison, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151202 (WD OK, Nov. 6, 2015) dismissed a suit by the daughter and by the former wife of an inmate who were denied rights to visit the inmate.  The daughter was the victim of her father’s sex crimes.  Among the arguments rejected were that their free exercise rights were infringed because their religious beliefs required that the daughter receive blessings from her father.