Prisoner free exercise cases – October 3, 2013

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Conway v. Purves, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112424 (ED MI, Aug. 9, 2013), a Michigan federal district court denied as moot Muslim inmates  challenges the nutritional adequacy of the meals provided during Ramadan 2013.The magistrate’s recommendation in the case is at 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138997, July 18, 2013.

In Entler v. Knox, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138837 (WD WA, Sept. 26, 2013), a Washington federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138838, Aug. 14, 2013)  and dismissed complaints by an inmate who was an adherent of the Essene Assembly of god that his rights were violated when authorities confiscated his religious headdress (made from a white t-shirt) and required him to wear his crucifix inside his clothing.

In Cotton v. Cate, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138923 (ND CA, Sept. 24, 2013), a California federal district court held that an inmate who was an adherent of Shetaut Neter may proceed with his claims against the prison chaplain for failing to respond to his request for religious services, items for worship and access to a chaplain of his religion.

In Johns v. Lemmon, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139132 (ND IN, Sept. 27, 2013), an Indiana federal district court ruled in favor of a Jewish inmate who, for religious reasons, wants his meals for Saturday delivered to him on Friday before the beginning of the Sabbath.

In Infinite Allah v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139238 (WD VA, Sept. 27, 2013), a Virginia federal district court held that there are issues of fact that preclude the award of summary judgment for the state in a suit by an inmate seeking recognition for his religious group, the Nation of Gods and Earths.

In Johnson v. Nevada ex rel. Board of Prison Commissioners, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139426 (D NV, Sept. 26, 2013), a Nevada federal district court, rejecting in part a magistrate’s recommendation (2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139422, July 10, 2013), permitted an Orthodox Christian inmate to proceed with his claim for injunctive relief in order to receive kosher meals.

In Wilson v. Sabatka-Rine, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139754 (D NE, Sept. 27, 2013), a Nebraska federal district court permitted a Wiccan inmate to proceed with his complaint that authorities confiscated his Tarot Cards and Gemstones. However the court dismissed claims of various other interferences with his ability to practice his Wiccan religion.

In Clay v. Steele, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140056 (ED MO, Sept. 30, 2013), a Missouri federal district court dismissed a claim by an inmate who described his religion as Al-Islam that his rights were violated when he was not served meat as part of his religious diet.