University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Johnson v. Martin PC-MI-0026
Docket / Court 00-75 ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Michigan ACLU
Case Summary
On March 28, 2000, an incarcerated member of the Melanic Islamic Palace of the Rising Sun, a non-profit religious organization, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court Western District of Michigan under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 29 U.S.C. § 2000cc (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized ... read more >
On March 28, 2000, an incarcerated member of the Melanic Islamic Palace of the Rising Sun, a non-profit religious organization, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court Western District of Michigan under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 29 U.S.C. § 2000cc (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)) against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). The plaintiff, in pro per, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that the MDOC violated his rights under the Due Process Clause, First Amendment, Equal Protection Clause, and under the RLUIPA with the total ban against Melanic literature in Michigan prisons.

The dispute in this case arose when the MDOC classified the Melanic Islamic Palace of the Rising Sun and its incarcerated members (Melanics) as a security threat group. As a result, Melanic members had to renounce their membership or face a higher security classification. If a prisoner is designated a member of a security threat group, the prisoner is prohibited from possessing documents, materials, symbols, colors or pictures of the group.

In January 2000, incarcerated Melanics were given seven business days to dispose of or turn over all materials evidencing Melanic membership. The MDOC also began to reject mailings of Melanic writings to incarcerated individuals. Plaintiffs allege the Melanic writings that they were ordered to relinquish and are prohibited from possessing are essential to the practice of their religion.

On September 21, 2001, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan (Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley) consolidated two previously filed suits. On April 29, 2002, the District Court (Judge Richard Alan Enslen) granted class certification, limited to injunctive relief. On April 25, 2003, the Court (Judge Enslen) granted class certification, for the purpose of determining liability, to current prisoners of the MDOC who were members of the Melanics on January 7, 2000, and whose religious materials were confiscated after January 7, 2000 or who could not possess Melanic materials after January 7, 2000.

On December 7, 2005, the Court (Judge Enslen) found Plaintiffs were entitled to injunctive relief under the RLUIPA and the Court enjoined Defendant from totally banning Melanic literature from MDOC institutions. On May 15, 2006, the Court (Judge Enslen) granted Plaintiffs requested attorneys' fees in part.

Lori Arakaki - 10/09/2014


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Mail
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Michigan
Plaintiff Description Incarcerated member of the Melanic Islamic Palace of the Rising Sun, a non-profit religious organization
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Michigan ACLU
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2005 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:00-cv-00075-RAE-TPG (W.D. Mich.) 11/05/2012
PC-MI-0026-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 09/26/2002 (223 F.Supp.2d 820) (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order 01/03/2005 (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 12/07/2005 (2005 WL 3312566) (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order, Injunction, and Partial Judgment 12/07/2005 (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 01/30/2006 (2006 WL 223108) (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 01/30/2006 (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (granting in part and denying in part plaintiffs' motions for attorney's fees) 05/15/2006 (2006 WL 1361771) (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/06/2007 (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Enslen, Richard Alan (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0026-0001 | PC-MI-0026-0002 | PC-MI-0026-0003 | PC-MI-0026-0004 | PC-MI-0026-0005 | PC-MI-0026-0006 | PC-MI-0026-0007 | PC-MI-0026-0008 | PC-MI-0026-9000
Greeley, Timothy P. (W.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
PC-MI-0026-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Manville, Daniel E. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Campbell, Christine M. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Olivieri, Linda M. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Thurber, John L. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Wright, Patrick J. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Other Lawyers Gross, Charles R. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0026-9000
Hasson, Kevin J. (District of Columbia)
PC-MI-0026-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -