Ruffin v. Comm’r (D. Maine 2012): Criminal Law Case

Plaintiff Daniel O’Neil Ruffin, the only practicing Muslim in the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, Maine, brought this suit against the Respondents, facility program manager Carol Geel, facility director Scott Jones, and former commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections Martin Magnusson for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights by denying his request to be allowed to conduct religious services in the common area. The Respondents claimed that they denied the request because it would have been impracticable to assign an officer to supervise a single prisoner, and that they tried to accommodate the Plaintiff’s religious beliefs by allowing him to conduct services in his room. The Respondents filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Court referred to a Magistrate judge for a recommended decision. The Magistrate judge recommended that the Respondents be entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable officer would not have known that the challenged conduct violated the Plaintiff’s rights.

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