University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name James v. Lash PC-IN-0009
Docket / Court 73-5 ( N.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Prior to 1982, three Muslim inmates in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana filed a lawsuit under 42 USC 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against prison officials claiming a violation of their First Amendment Right to freely exercise their religious ... read more >
Prior to 1982, three Muslim inmates in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana filed a lawsuit under 42 USC 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against prison officials claiming a violation of their First Amendment Right to freely exercise their religious beliefs.

The parties entered into a consent decree on May 28, 1982 in which the defendants agreed to recognize the American Muslim Mission as a legitimate religious group and to afford it the same rights as other religious groups at the Indiana State Prison. More specifically, the consent decree afforded the plaintiffs with the right to possess a Koran and other religious books, to have a pork-free diet, to observe Ramadan, and to participate in weekly religious services and study classes.

On October 21, 1996, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the defendants moved to terminate the consent decree. The District Court (Judge Allen Sharp) granted the motion on December 13, 1996. James v. Lash, 949 F.Supp. 691 (N.D. Ind. 1996).

The plaintiffs moved to reconsider, asking the court to find the PLRA unconstitutional and vacate the order terminating the consent decree. On May 15, 1997, the District Court denied the motion. James v. Lash, 965 F.Supp. 1190 (N.D. Ind. 1997).

According to the PACER docket, which begins with the October 1996 termination motion, two status reports were entered before the case was closed on November 19, 1997.

Rebekah Henn Sullivan - 08/04/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Indiana State Prison
Indiana State Prison Officials
Plaintiff Description Indiana prison moving to terminate consent decree directing prison to adopt and implement guidelines for the practice of religion by the Islamic community
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1982 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1997
Case Ongoing No
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)
73-5 (N.D. Ind.) 11/19/1997
PC-IN-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order 12/13/1996 (949 F.Supp. 691) (N.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0009-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 05/15/1997 (965 F.Supp. 1190) (N.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0009-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Sharp, Allen (N.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0009-0001 | PC-IN-0009-0002 | PC-IN-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bodensteiner, Ivan E. (Indiana)
PC-IN-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Overholt, Anthony W. (Indiana)
PC-IN-0009-0001 | PC-IN-0009-0002 | PC-IN-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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