Prisoner free exercise cases – October 24, 2016

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Peele v. Klemm, (3d Cir., Oct. 17, 2016), the 3rd Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a Muslim inmate’s complaint that a Department of Corrections policy restricts rights to attend Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr feasts. Inmates were required to pay for the feast and had to participate in all of Ramadan.

In Wilkins v. Lemon, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143491 (ND IN, Oct. 17, 2016), an Indiana federal district court allowed a Muslim inmate to move ahead on claims for damages and injunctive relief for being denied halal meat, prayer oils and festive foods for the Eids.

In Biggins v. Coupe, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143696 (D DE, Oct. 14, 2016), a Delaware federal district court held that an inmate’s in forma pauperis free exercise claim is barred by the 3-strike rule even though it was brought as a mandamus action.

In Abreu v. Travers, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145171 (ND NY, Oct. 20, 2016), a New York federal district court held because plaintiff failed to identify his religion, it could not determine if the denial of one kosher meal placed a substantial burden on his religious beliefs.

In Wallace v. Olivarria, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146380 (SD CA, Oct. 21, 2016), a California federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that his religious practice was burdened by changing his schedule for his prison job.