Prisoner free exercise cases – September 4, 2018

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Streater v. Allen, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145087 (ED TX, Aug. 24, 2018), a Texas federal district court dismissed an inmate’s complaint that during a two-week lock down he was unable to attend religious services and was denied hot meals for at least a week.

In Ramos v. Malloy, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145147 (D CT, Aug. 27, 2018), a Connecticut federal district court dismissed, with leave to file an amended complaint, an inmate’s lawsuit claiming he did not receive a book about religion, even though copies were mailed to him twice.

In Cordero v. Kelley, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145804 (D NJ, Aug. 22, 2018), a New Jersey federal district court allowed an inmate to move ahead with claims that religious tracts he purchased to give his family and friends were confiscated.

In Buie v. Mitchell, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146159 (ED WI, Aug. 28, 2018), a Wisconsin federal district court dismissed an inmate’s lawsuit that complained about the manner of preparation of certain kosher meals.

In Guilliot v. Harmon, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145095 (ND TX, Aug. 27, 2018),  Texas federal district court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation (2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146273, July 25, 2018) and permitted a Wiccan inmate who was serving a sentence for receiving child pornography to move ahead with his claim that his rights under RFRA were violated when he was denied access to a Rider-Waite Tarot deck — a tarot deck that includes artistic depictions of non-sexualized nudity.

In Galvan v. Sterrett, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146339 (SD IL, Aug. 28, 2018), an Illinois federal district court allowed a Catholic inmate to move ahead with his complaint that his permission to attend Protestant religious services as well as Catholic ones was revoked.

In Gaston v. Marean, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146578 (ED CA, Aug. 28, 2018), a California federal district court held that a Ratafarian inmate’s additional assertions regarding the impact of cutting off his dreadlocks would allege a substantial burden on religious exercise, contrary to a magistrate’s original conclusion (see prior posting). Thus the court provided the opportunity to file an amended complaint.

In Loufer v. Carr, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147006 (D KA, Aug. 29, 2018), a Kansas federal district court gave an inmate 30 days to show why his sketchy complaint regarding a religious diet should not be dismissed.

In Masek v. Chastain, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148013 (ED MO, Aug. 30, 2018), a Missouri federal district court dismissed a complaint by plaintiff, who is civilly detained after being found not guilty by reason of insanity for the murder of his father, that he was deprived of a copy of the Bible for one week.

In Wright v. Lassiter, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148188 (WD NC, Aug. 30, 2018), a North Carolina federal district court allowed a Rastafarian inmate to move ahead with claims of confiscation of religious books and items, and forced removal from a vegan diet.

In Helm v. Allen, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149080 (WD KY, Aug. 30, 2018), a Kentucky federal district court allowed an inmate to move ahead with his complaint that he was denied a Catholic Bible and mail from the Dtnamic Catholic Institute.