University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Kelly v. Lapan PC-NY-0054
Docket / Court 1:07-CV-04149 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On Memorial Day, 2007, inmates at the federal prison camp in Otisville, N.Y., found that prison authorities had taken hundreds of books off the chapel library shelves. According to an Associated Press report, the removal of the books was "part of a long-delayed, post-Sept. 11 federal directive ... read more >
On Memorial Day, 2007, inmates at the federal prison camp in Otisville, N.Y., found that prison authorities had taken hundreds of books off the chapel library shelves. According to an Associated Press report, the removal of the books was "part of a long-delayed, post-Sept. 11 federal directive intended to prevent radical religious texts, specifically Islamic ones, from falling into the hands of violent inmates." Three inmates at Otisville filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on May 29, 2007, saying their Constitutional rights were violated; they alleged that the books in question were both Christian and Muslim.

According to the AP report of the resulting temporary restraining order (TRO) hearing, held May 31, 2007 before U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, the government explained that under the new rules, prison libraries were limiting the number of books for each religion to between 100 and 150; officials would eventually expand the number.

In an oral ruling, the court denied the TRO, and directed the plaintiffs to pursue administrative remedies; Judge Swain set deadlines for preliminary injunction papers over the summer. The government informed the court that it would not destroy the books in question until at least October 2007.

The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Frank Maas on June 21, 2007. Plaintiffs' wrote to the Magistrate on June 27 stating they believed they would exhaust the grievance process before being released. The Magistrate ordered the case closed on June 30. The Court (Judge Laura Talor Swain) approved Plaintiffs' voluntary dismissal of their claims without prejudice on August 28. The case is now closed.

Margo Schlanger - 06/11/2007
Kenneth Gray - 07/11/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Library (non-law) access
Religious programs / policies
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Bivens
Defendant(s) Federal Bureau of Prisons
Plaintiff Description Three inmates at the federal prison camp in Otisville, N.Y.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
1:07-cv-04149-LTS (S.D.N.Y.) 09/04/2007
PC-NY-0054-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
No documents currently in the collection
Judges Swain, Laura Taylor (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0054-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Klein, Solomon (New York)
PC-NY-0054-9000
Silverman, Moses (New York)
PC-NY-0054-9000
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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