University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Muhammad v. Keve PC-DE-0003
Docket / Court 77-221 ( D. Del. )
State/Territory Delaware
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1977, Muslim inmates of the Delaware Correctional Center filed suit, pro se, in the District of Delaware against prison officials. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the food service policies and treatment by the staff ... read more >
In 1977, Muslim inmates of the Delaware Correctional Center filed suit, pro se, in the District of Delaware against prison officials. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the food service policies and treatment by the staff violated their right to free expression of religion, because the dietary restrictions required by their Muslim observance were not being accommodated.

Shortly after the complaint was filed in August 1977, the District Court (Judge Walter Stapleton) partially granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction requiring defendants to assign one of the plaintiffs to work in the food preparation area and monitor the ingredients and procedures. It was at this time that the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include allegations of retaliatory treatment by the staff responding to plaintiffs' religiously inspired name changes.

After entry of the preliminary injunction, the case went to trial. Judge Stapleton held that the defendants had violated the plaintiffs' rights to free expression by failing to provide a pork-free diet and by prohibiting the plaintiffs' use of Muslim names. Muhammad v. Keve, 479 F. Supp. 1311 (D. Del. 1979). Judge Stapleton issued an injunction that assured plaintiffs' access to information regarding pork content in their food, delivery of mail addressed to their Muslim names, and freedom from punishment resulting from failure to acknowledge plaintiffs' non-Muslim names. In addition, each plaintiff was awarded judgment against Superintendent Redman in his favor in the amount of one dollar.

The docket indicates some attempt at enforcement by several inmates in the late 1990s, but nothing really happened.

John Maksymonko - 07/22/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Delaware Correctional Center
Plaintiff Description Muslim inmates of prison bringing action against prison officials regarding eating pork in the prison
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1979 - 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)
77-221 (D. Del.) 10/28/1999
PC-DE-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 10/22/1979 (479 F.Supp. 1311) (D. Del.)
PC-DE-0003-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Robinson, Sue Lewis (D. Del.)
PC-DE-0003-9000
Stapleton, Walter King (D. Del., Third Circuit)
PC-DE-0003-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers Parkins, John A. Jr. (Delaware)
PC-DE-0003-0001
Shannon, Joseph S. (Delaware)
PC-DE-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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