Prisoner free exercise cases – October 13, 2013

Howard Friedman, Relgion Clause

In Smith v. City of New York, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144122 (SD NY, Sept. 26, 2013), eight Rikers Island inmates sued alleging that unlike other religions, Muslims were not given dedicated prayer space, religious materials or adequate Halal meals.  One plaintiff was dismissed because of a prior settlement; and 4 more were dismissed for failing to exhaust administrative remedies.  An exhaustion hearing was scheduled for the other three.

In Brown v. Fischer, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145586 (WD NY, Oct. 8, 2013), a New York federal district court dismissed a Jewish inmate’s claim that his free exercise rights were infringed when one of his kosher meals contained a package of what he believed was non-kosher salami.