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Wiccan Prisoner Settles with NV DOC Over Denial of Hardbound Religious Books

by Joe Watson

Donald Towne, a Nevada state prisoner and practicing Wiccan, reached a settlement of unspecified remedies in July 2008 in his pro se lawsuit against the state’s Department of Corrections (NDOC).

Towne alleged that his constitutional rights were violated during his incarceration at Lovelock Correctional Center by Warden William Donat, NDOC Director Howard Skulnick, and two other NDOC affiliates who Towne said denied him access to many Wiccan books because they were only in hardbound form. Per NDOC policy, only softbound books were allowed in the institution.

In August 2007, Towne sued Donat, Skulnick, et al., in a U.S. District Court presided over by Judge Edward C. Reed, Jr., alleging violations of his right to free speech, free exercise of religion, and due-process. Meanwhile, NDOC made several defenses including Towne’s failure to state a claim, statute of limitations, and failure to exhaust administrative remedies, before ultimately agreeing to settle with Towne. See: Towne v. Donat, U.S.D.C. (D. Nev.), Case No. 3:07-CV-00349.

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Related legal case

Towne v. Donat