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Court of Appeals reverses and remands inmate’s request for kosher meals

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A Pendleton Correctional Facility inmate will not be able to collect monetary damages against employees of the Indiana Department of Correction, but his request for kosher meals will get a second review.   

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded a lower court’s summary judgment for the Indiana Department of Corrections which resulted in the dismissal of the complaint made by inmate Jeffrey Allen Rowe.

In Jeffrey Allen Rowe V. Bruce Lemon, A49A02-1204-PL-344, the issues before the COA were whether the inmate is entitled to pursue monetary damages against the defendants under either 42 U.S.C. 1983 or the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and whether there is a genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment on Rowe’s claims under RLUIPA.   

On Jan. 19, 2011, Rowe filed an “Offender Request for Religious Accommodation” asking that he be provided kosher meals. He is not Jewish but professes to believe in “Identity Christianity” and maintains God commanded that followers adhere to the Biblical food laws in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. These are the rules that kosher diets follow.

After Rowe’s request and subsequent appeals were denied, he filed a complaint against DOC officials and the commissioner seeking compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages as well as a declaratory judgment injunction requiring that he be served kosher meals. The complaint invoked RLUIPA and 42 U.S. C. 1983 for alleged violations of his constitutional rights under the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.    

The COA affirmed the grant of summary judgment against Rowe on his constitutional claims. It did not review Rowe’s Section 1983 constitutional claims because the remedies to which the inmate would be entitled are virtually identical to RLUIPA.  

However, the COA did reverse the grant of summary judgment against Rowe on his claims under RLUIPA because there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the sincerity of his religious beliefs. The court remanded for further proceedings on those claims.




 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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