Prisoner free exercise cases – October 16, 2018

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Hairston v. Emeaghara, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167839 (SD OH, Sept. 28, 2018), an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing an inmate’s complaint that the chaplain refused to provide weekly church services for the segregation unit.

In Brakeall v. Stanwick-Klimek, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167925 (D SD, Sept. 28, 2018), a South Dakota federal district court, in an opinion largely focused on other issues, allowed an inmate to move ahead with claims that he has been prevented from participating in Jewish holiday observances and that there is no kosher meal option.

In Baker v. Davis, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167027 (ED TX, Sept. 28, 2018), a Texas federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167961, Aug. 20, 2018) and dismissed a Muslim inmate’s various complaints relating to meals, prayer oil, study groups, religious services and grooming policies.

In Rivera v. Kernan, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168309 (ND CA, Sept. 28, 2018), a California federal district court allowed an Odinist inmate that authorities refused or delayed approval for celebration or collection of funds for religious holidays.

In Rials v. Avalos, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168323 (ND CA, Sept. 28, 2018), a California federal district court dismissed, in part on qualified immunity grounds, a complaint by a Moorish Science Temple of America adherent that he is not allowed to carry a picture of the Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali outside of his cell.

In Sterling v. Sellers, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168555 (MD GA, Sept. 29, 2018), a Georgia federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that congregational prayers were not permitted in the prison day room, but allowed plaintiff to move ahead with his complaint that he was not permitted to participate in the Eid feast.

In Jefferson v. Wall, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168662 (D RI, Sept. 28, 2018), a Rhode Island federal district court dismissed, on res judicata grounds, a Muslim inmates complaint that he was not permitted to wear his kufi during Ramadan Iftar meals.

In Barnes v. Fedele, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170218 (WD NY, Oct. 2, 2018), a New York federal district court dismissed on qualified immunity grounds a suit by an inmate who registered his religion as Jewish who complained that he was not permitted to wear a Tsalot-Kob under a policy which, at that time approved this as religious head wear only for Rastafarians.

In Mitchell v. Davey, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170317 (ED CA, Oct. 2, 2018), a California federal magistrate judge recommended allowing a Muslim inmate to move ahead against certain defendants on his complaint that for parts of 2015, including Ramadan, he could not obtain meals consistent with his religious beliefs, and that meals meeting Muslim standards are not available.