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Rouser v. White

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 24, 2010

WILLIAM ROUSER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THEO WHITE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

ORDER

On April 15, 2010, the court granted in part, plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. Part of the relief ordered included allowing plaintiff access to a sweat lodge/fire pit used by Native American inmates.

On April 29, 2010, the court signed a stipulation filed by plaintiff and defendants. This stipulation indicated that defendant will be appealing the court's order to the Court of Appeals, but that the parties are also engaged in mediation. The stipulation was not clear as to whether defendants are currently implementing the preliminary injunction. Rather, it stated that because of the pending mediation, defendant need not seek a stay of enforcement in the district court. On May 4, 2010, defendant filed a notice of appeal.

On May 17, 2010, thirteen prisoners,*fn1 who are proceeding pro se, filed a motion to intervene and a motion for reconsideration of this court's order granting plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction in part. These individuals are members of the Spotted Eagle Circle at Lancaster State Prison. They seek to bring a cross-claim against plaintiff.

In their motion to reconsider, the interveners argue that allowing plaintiff access to their sweat lodge/fire pit would desecrate the site for them. As such, they ask the court to reconsider its order allowing plaintiff access to the site.

For the foregoing reasons, the court orders as follows:

(1) The motion to intervene, Dkt. No. 518, is GRANTED.

(2) The court has determined that it may be appropriate to appoint counsel for the interveners. For this reason, the court orders the Clerk of Court to serve copies of this order, the court's order granting in part plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, Dkt. No. 509, and the interveners motions, Dkt. Nos. 517, 518 upon California Indian Legal Services at the following addresses:

(a) 609 S. Escondido Boulevard Escondido, CA 92025; and

(b) 3814 Auburn Boulevard, Suite 72 Sacramento, CA 95821.

(3) California Indian Legal Services shall inform the court within thirty (30) days of the issuance of this order whether it will represent the interveners in this action. If the organization declines to represent the interveners the court will seek alternative volunteer counsel for them.

(4) If the interveners do not want California Indian Legal Services or other volunteer counsel to represent them in this case, they shall inform the court that they object to the appointment of counsel within thirty (30) days of the issuance of this order.

(5) The court stays enforcement of the April 15, 2010 order pending resolution of the intervenor's motion to reconsider as to only the following relief:

(a) that defendants grant Mr. Rouser access to the fire pit adjacent to the Native American sweat lodge during religious services; and

(b) that when Wiccan services are scheduled, defendants must allow Mr. Rouser to access the outdoor, nature-based religious area for group services for the entire scheduled time, unless the Yard is on modified program and no religious group is allowed to meet that day only insofar as access to this area interferes with the interveners' religious practice.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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