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No Right To Halal Meat for Washington State Prisoner If Kosher Fits Religious Needs

No Right To Halal Meat for Washington State Prisoner If Kosher Fits
Religious Needs

Pro se Washington State prisoner and Muslim Linniell Phipps claimed
constitutional violations when his facility substituted Kosher meals for
Halal meat. The court ruled no violation and his appeal was dismissed.

Phipps' amended complaint claimed First Amendment violation of right to
free exercise of religion and Fourteenth Amendment violation of equal
protection, arguing that other prisoners' religious diets were provided.

Experts stated that Kosher meals satisfied religious need. The defendants
claimed that Phipps acknowledged this in prior statements and claimed that
they didn't violate the Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act
(RLUIPA). They argued that providing Halal meat would increase security
risks by admitting additional vendors into the facility and by increasing
the number of staff to oversee preparation. This is supported by Turner v.
Safely. 482 U.S. 78, 89, 107 S.Ct. 2254, 96 L.ED.2d 64 (1987). When a
prison regulation impinges on inmate's constitutional rights, the
regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological
interests." A magistrate for the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Washington saw no reasonable alternative to accommodate
Phipps' request with a de minimus impact on the Washington State Department
of Corrections, and agreed Turner and RLUIPA were satisfied. For his state
constitutional claim Phipps failed to provide analysis or grounds and the
claim was not addressed. The magistrate recommended that the defendant's
summary judgments be granted dismissing all claims. Phipps objected and on
Jan. 13, 2006 the referring judge adopted the recommendation in it's entirety.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit's attempts to reach Phipps and the order for
his facility to collect and forward filing and docketing fees failed, and
when no opening brief was filed the appeal was dismissed for failure to
prosecute. See: Phipps v. Morgan, Case No. CV-04-5108-MWL (U.S. D.C. E.D.

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Related legal case

Phipps v. Morgan