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Case Name Thompson v. Ricci PC-NJ-0020
Docket / Court 3:08-cv-05926 ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On December 3, 2008, plaintiff, a prisoner who is an ordained Pentecostal minister, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq. ("RLUIPA") against the ... read more >
On December 3, 2008, plaintiff, a prisoner who is an ordained Pentecostal minister, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq. ("RLUIPA") against the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections and the Administrator at the New Jersey State Prison (NJSP). The plaintiff, represented by the ACLU, asked the court for nominal damages and to enjoin defendants from prohibiting plaintiff from preaching and ministering to other inmates, from leading religious services, and from teaching religious classes. Specifically, plaintiff claimed that defendants violated plaintiff's First Amendment right by implementing a policy banning all prisoners from preaching in the prison.

Plaintiff had preached at weekly worship services at NJSP for more than a decade when prison officials issued a blanket ban on all preaching by inmates, even when done under the direct supervision of prison staff.

On February 23, 2009, the U.S. District Court (Judge Anne E. Thompson) issued an order denying plaintiff's request for preliminary injunction. The court noted that prisoners may preach to small groups of no larger than six people, but may not lead large groups for security reasons. On November 25, 2009, the parties filed a Stipulation of Dismissal, as the claims in the action had been resolved by the parties.

Julie Singer - 10/23/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
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) New Jersey Department of Correction
Plaintiff Description Prisoner who is an ordained Pentecostal minister.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies 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 ]

  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 ]

Links Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Written: Jun. 04, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:08−cv−05926 (D.N.J.)
PC-NJ-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/25/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint
PC-NJ-0020-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/03/2008
Source: ACLU National Prison Project
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction
PC-NJ-0020-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/03/2008
Source: ACLU National Prison Project
Order [ECF# 6] (D.N.J.)
PC-NJ-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/29/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Opinion [ECF# 18] (D.N.J.)
PC-NJ-0020-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/23/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Dismissal [ECF# 31]
PC-NJ-0020-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/24/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Thompson, Anne Elise Court not on record
PC-NJ-0020-0003 | PC-NJ-0020-0004 | PC-NJ-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barocas, Edward (New Jersey)
PC-NJ-0020-0001 | PC-NJ-0020-0002 | PC-NJ-0020-0005 | PC-NJ-0020-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
PC-NJ-0020-0001 | PC-NJ-0020-0002 | PC-NJ-0020-0005 | PC-NJ-0020-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Milgram, Anne (New York)
PC-NJ-0020-0005
Moratti, Dianne M. (New Jersey)
PC-NJ-0020-0005
Scott, Susan Marie (New Jersey)
PC-NJ-0020-0005 | PC-NJ-0020-9000
Weaver, Heather Lynn (District of Columbia)
PC-NJ-0020-0005

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