Wright v. Lassiter (P)

The district court correctly found that North Carolina prison officials did not substantially burden the plaintiff’s constitutional and statutory religious-freedom rights, though not for the result the court gave.

The plaintiff is an inmate who follows Rastafarianism. He asked to celebrate four annual Rastafarian holy days through communal meals and three other holidays through communal gatherings that don’t include meals. But the plaintiff didn’t prove that, but for the defendants’ policies, a community of Rastafarian inmates would gather to celebrate these seven holidays and holy days. He didn’t identify any Rastafarian inmate in the North Carolina prison system who would attend his proposed gatherings. Moreover, he concedes there are no other North Carolina inmates who belong to his religious sect. Thus, he has failed to show that the defendants’ policies are what prevent these communal gatherings from happening.


Wright v. Lassiter (P), No. 18-6320, Apr. 17, 2019. 4th Cir. (Richardson) from EDNC at Raleigh (Dever).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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