And I thought being a Methodist was complicated. The wonders of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, Congress' attempt back in 1997 to protect religious freedom from government interference, was on full display last week in a case out of the 7th Circuit. As Decision of the Day explains,
Plaintiff Gregory Koger was a Baptist when he entered Illinois state prison, but he went through several religious transformations while incarcerated, filing numerous requests for a special religious diet along the way. Eventually, Koger settled on Thelema, a religion founded by famed devil worshipper Aleister Crowley, whose golden rule is not "Do Unto Others . . .," but rather "Do What Thou Wilt." And Koger decided that for him, "Do What Thou Wilt" meant eating a special vegetarian diet.
The prison wasn't accomodating of his request, so Greg, being a red-blooded American, sued. Last week, the 7th Circuit reversed a grant of summary judgment to the prison.
Why yes, the war on drugs is going well. Why do you ask? Hard to tell what was more embarassing for the Pineville Police Department: the fact that an undercover buy of drugs was inadvertently broadcast to the public over a police scanner, the fact that two of the people caught by the sting were Pineville police officers, or the fact that one of them worked in the schools for the DARE program.
Maybe he'd eat better if he become a Theleman. According to Overlawyered,
413-pound Broderick Lloyd Laswell was arrested for robbing and murdering Randy Walker and setting Walker's trailer home on fire, and has been kept in an Arkansas jail cell awaiting a capital trial. Eight months later, he's down to 308 pounds, but he's not grateful for the diet, and has sued for "hot meals" and more consistent portions.
Calling all judges. I blogged yesterday about State v. Colon, the Supreme Court's decision a few weeks back, and the substantial impact it might have on the way that indictments are handled in Ohio. That hasn't escaped the attention of the prosecutors in this state. I got hold of an email from Ashtabula County Prosecutor Thomas L. Sartini, written to Judge Diane Grendell of the 11th District in response to an email she'd sent out to all Ashtabula County lawyers about Colon. Sartini waxes apocalyptic about Colon's ramifications, which are so severe that the Ohio County Prosecutor's Association held an emergency meeting in Columbus on Wednesday "to muster support for the Court's reconsideration of the case." The letter closes by noting that "any support that the 11th District could provide would be greatly appreciated."
Two things. First, there's a good chance that the prosecutors will get their wish. Colon's not a particularly compelling result, especially with regard to the determination that failure to include the mens rea requirement in an indictment is a "structural error." In fact, that runs directly contrary to the Supreme Court's decision just a few weeks earlier in State v. Wamsley, where they specifically rejected the claim that failure to include a mens rea requirement in a jury instruction was structural error.
Second thing. Why would a county prosecutor believe that an appellate court judge could, would, or should lend "support" to his efforts to get a Supreme Court case reconsidered?