Smith v. Crockett 1 (D.C.Co. Oct. 13, 2021): Recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge

In this case, petitioner Ray Anthony Smith, a Muslim inmate housed in a Colorado state prison, alleged a violation of his federal constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and his federal statutory right to a diet that complies with his faith. Specifically, he alleged that prison officials revoked his right to aḥalāl diet upon observing him ordering non-ḥalāl food. Petitioner Smith submitted a request for reinstatement of hisḥalāl diet through the internal prison grievance system, which was denied. Smith initiated this federal lawsuit in 2020 alleging violations of free exercise of religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”). His complaint alleges that the Colorado Department of Corrections, Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, and The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFNCA) violated his rights by the wrongful revocation of his religious diet and mislabeling of ḥalāl food products. Upon reviewing the record, in Smith v. Crockett, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang determined that the petitioner alleged actions that sufficed to make out a basic claim and recommended that government officials should not receive immunity. The Judge recommended, however, dismissal of Smith’s other allegations–including monetary damages against the government defendants for fraudulent misrepresentation of ḥalāl food products, and that the IFNCA and Dr. Chaudry be held liable for government actions.

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