Prisoner free exercise cases – September 24, 2018

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Wolcott v. Board of Rabbis of Northern and Southern California, (9th Cir., Sept. 20, 2018), the 9th Circuit reversed the dismissal of an inmate’s claim that his possession and use of Jewish artifacts were restricted, but affirmed the dismissal of his religious conversion claim.

In Goff v. Eppinger, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155455 (ND OH, Sept. 12, 2018), an Ohio federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint regarding delay in placing his name on the kosher meal approval list, and failure to respond to requests for Passover accommodations.

In Wenzel v. Reynolds, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156702 (ND IN, Sept. 13, 2018), and Indiana federal district court allowed an Odinist inmate to proceed with damage claims growing out of denial of his religious book for four days and that he was denied equal access to religious study materials. Claims for confiscation of runes and denial of a Christmas gift were dismissed.

In Cary v. Mox, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156666 (ED MI, Sept. 14, 2018), a Michigan federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendations (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157275, Aug. 14, 2018) and dismissed a complaint from a follower of the Native American Traditional Way that his medicine bag had been desecrated by correctional officers searching it.

In Davis v. Harper, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158186 (SD IL, Sept. 14, 2018), an Illinois federal district court allowed a Muslim inmate to move ahead with his complaint that prison dietary staff ignored his documented allergies in preparing his food for Ramadan and related feasts.

In Guillen v. Francisco, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158293 (ED CA,Sept. 17, 2018), a California federal magistrate judge recommended that a Native American inmate be allowed to move ahead with his complaint that a correctional officer touched plaintiff’s medicine bag during a search.

In McCoy v. Aramark Correctional Services, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159871 (D KA, Sept. 19, 2018), a Kansas federal district court held that issues of fact remain which preclude summary judgment for an Orthodox Jewish inmate who contends that certified religious diet meals do not meet his religious requirements.