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Mady Chan v. County of Sacramento

April 21, 2011

MADY CHAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed this civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

On March 30, 2011, the magistrate judge filed findings and recommendations concerning plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order (Doc. 56) which were served on all parties and which contained notice to all parties that any objections to the findings and recommendations were to be filed within fourteen days. Plaintiff has timely filed objections to the findings and recommendations, but has attempted to alter and expand his allegations.

Background

The magistrate judge stated in part:

Plaintiff states that he constructed a handmade Buddha that he uses for daily praying, but because the jail has no policy to protect such a display, it will be destroyed if found. Based on these allegations, the jail has not taken any action regarding the statue/altar and plaintiff seeks speculative prospective relief. "[P]laintiff must show that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as the result of the challenged official conduct and the injury or threat of injury must be both real and immediate, not conjectural or hypothetical." City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101-102, 103 S.Ct. 1660 (1983). Plaintiff's claim is not appropriate in a motion for a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction and should be denied.

Plaintiff next alleges that jail officials refuse to allow plaintiff to hold Buddhism study classes, while Bible study classes are held in both English and Spanish. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Chaplain Ortiz does not allow Buddhism study materials to be mailed in,*fn1 and that more money is spent on chaplain programs than Buddhism programs. However, plaintiff does not allege that there are others who want to participate in Buddhism study classes nor has he offered any specific details or information concerning religious materials he requested, that were then denied.

Plaintiff is informed that defendants are not responsible for duplicating every religious benefit provided to other religions so that all religions are treated exactly the same. As the Supreme Court stated in Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322, n.2, 92 S.Ct. 1079, 31 L.Ed.2d 263 (1972):

We do not suggest . . . that every religious sect or group within a prison-however few in number-must have identical facilities or personnel. A special chapel or place of worship need not be provided for every faith regardless of size; nor must a chaplain, priest, or minister be provided without regard to the extent of the demand. But reasonable opportunities must be afforded to all prisoners to exercise the religious freedom guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments without fear of penalty.

Application of the standard set forth in Cruz does not require "strict numerical analysis" or "create a system of ratios or quotas." Thompson v. Commonwealth of Ky., 712 F.2d 1078, 1081 (6th Cir. 1983) (upholding grant of summary judgment on Muslim inmates' request for access to chapel comparable to Christian inmates).

Under the Cruz standard, described above, defendants must provide plaintiff a "reasonable opportunity" to practice his religion in a manner "comparable" to the other inmates.

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 provides in part:

No government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an institution . . . even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the government ...


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