Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Robertson v. Biby

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

July 30, 2013

JOSHUA JAMES ROBERTSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAUNCEY BIBY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

SAM A. CROW, U.S. Senior District Judge

This matter is a civil action filed pursuant to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). Plaintiff, a prisoner in state custody, alleges interference with his religious freedom during his placement in long-term segregation.

By its order entered on January 2, 2013, the court dismissed this matter for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

On January 14, plaintiff filed a combined motion to correct clerical mistakes, motion for relief from judgment, and motion to alter or amend judgment (Doc. 7). Because the motion was filed within 28 days from the entry of the judgment, the court liberally construes it as a motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e).

To prevail on this motion, the plaintiff must establish either “(1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) new evidence previously unavailable, [or] (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Servants of the Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000). “A Rule 59(e) motion … is designed to permit relief in extraordinary circumstances and not to offer a second bite at the proverbial apple.” Syntroleum Corp. v. Fletcher Int’l, Ltd., 2009 WL 761322 (N.D.Okla. Mar. 19, 2009).

Plaintiff first complains of error in the court’s statement that he commenced the action while housed in long-term segregation at the Lansing Correctional Facility. Plaintiff, in fact, was assigned to such a housing status at the El Dorado Correctional Facility when he commenced this action. This correction is noted.[1]

Next, plaintiff complains of error in the court’s statement that he claimed that his religious belief requires that he hear the Bible read aloud by another person at least every seven years. However, paragraph 24 of the complaint reads:

The Bible commands me, “And Moses commanded them, saying, at the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.” (Deuteronomy 31: 10-11 KJV). (Doc. 1, p. 5.)(emphasis in original).

Elsewhere, the complaint states:

The total ban on Christian Chapel service and Christian callouts for inmates in Administrative Segregation is a refusal by the defendants to provide for the religious exercise of hearing the Bible spoken by someone reading the Bible which creates pressure on me to not hear the Bible spoken by someone reading the Bible and that the non-hearing or prevention of hearing the Bible spoken by someone does not conform with my understanding of the requirements of Christianity and compels inaction with respect to studying the Bible. (Doc. 1, p. 7.)

The following reference appears in plaintiff’s original grievance:

I am a Christian and there are over 1, 800 references in the Bible to hearing God’s word, but only about 88 references to reading. And of those, two-thirds are to reading the Bible aloud. In fact, every seven years, the priests and elders were to “read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing.” Deuteronomy 31: 10-11 (King James Version). (Doc. 1, Attach. 8, p.5.)

Accordingly, the court concludes its construction of the complaint to allege a need to hear the Bible read aloud every seven years is reasonable and does not constitute clear error.

Next, plaintiff challenges the dismissal of his request for injunctive relief due to his transfer to another correctional facility. He argues that policy allows a prisoner to possess an MP3, a type of digital audio player, and to retain property as he transfers between facilities, and he contends that under RLUIPA he should be ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.