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Case Name Miller v. Murphy PC-WY-0006
Docket / Court 08-CV-090 ( D. Wyo. )
State/Territory Wyoming
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On April 3, 2008, two Muslim prisoners incarcerated in the Wyoming State Penitentary (WSP) sued officials of the Wyoming Department of Corrections in the United State District court of Wyoming. Plaintiffs claimed violations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Land Use ... read more >
On April 3, 2008, two Muslim prisoners incarcerated in the Wyoming State Penitentary (WSP) sued officials of the Wyoming Department of Corrections in the United State District court of Wyoming. Plaintiffs claimed violations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc et seq. (RLUIPA). Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that a prison policy requiring prisoners to consume their meals within twenty (20) minutes substantially burdens their ability to practice their religion, as they must choose between eating their meals and praying. The complaint specified that Jewish inmates experienced similar difficulties.

After brief litigation, the parties entered a Consent Decree which was approved by the court (Judge Clarence A. Brimmer) on November 19, 2008. The Consent Decree permits prisoners who receive their meals in their cells or pods to take up to thirty (30) minutes to eat, and prisoners receiving religious meals may keep those meals in their cells until the next meal is served. Prisoners who eat in the dining hall are permitted to go to the front of the line and receive a 10-and 5-minute announcements before being escorted from the hall.

Additional provisions in the Consent Decree substantially change the defendants' policies and practices concerning the observance by Muslims of fasting, special meals, and prayer time, and also guaranteed that a second microwave would be installed, from which pork products would be banned.

The consent decree did not establish an expiration date. As of July 2013, the case appears inactive.

Denise Heberle - 07/13/2010
Alex Colbert-Taylor - 07/09/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Wyoming Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Two Muslim inmates in the Wyoming State Penitentiary.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2008 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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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)
2:08-cv-90 (D. Wyo.) 11/19/2008
PC-WY-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Brief in Support 05/29/2008
PC-WY-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: District Court
Consent Decree and Order of Dismissal 11/19/2008
PC-WY-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 11/19/2008
PC-WY-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brimmer, Clarence Addison Jr. (D. Wyo.)
PC-WY-0006-0001 | PC-WY-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Horvath, Jennifer (Wyoming)
PC-WY-0006-0001 | PC-WY-0006-0002 | PC-WY-0006-0003 | PC-WY-0006-9000
Pevar, Stephen L. (Connecticut)
PC-WY-0006-0001 | PC-WY-0006-0002 | PC-WY-0006-0003 | PC-WY-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cox, Christine (Wyoming)
PC-WY-0006-0001 | PC-WY-0006-9000
Renneisen, John W. (Wyoming)
PC-WY-0006-0001
Salzburg, Bruce (Wyoming)
PC-WY-0006-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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