McGlothlin v. Murray (D.N.J. 1997): Insufficient Claim of Religious Discrimination in Prison

Muslim inmate John McGlothlin brought a case under §1983, alleging that the prison chaplain and other prison officials violated his right to free exercise under the First Amendment. The plaintiff claimed that Muslim inmates were treated differently from fellow inmates of other religious beliefs, exemplified by comparing the announcements on the bulletin board for Muslims with one run by the Christian Fellowship. A report by the U.S. Magistrate recommended that this case should be dismissed, and the District Court agreed. Specifically, the Court found that the plaintiff’s claims against the prison’s non-denominational chaplain should be dismissed as the chaplain was not a state actor; it further dismissed the claims against the other officials because the plaintiff’s claims failed to demonstrate a disparity of treatment based on religion.

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