Sunday, April 09, 2006

MA Supremes: The demand that the state find a camel or oxen and slaughter it so prisoner Rasheed can eat its meat is not, on its face, an unreasonable request
SJC: State hasn’t justified withholding Muslim feast-day meats

BOSTON - The state’s highest court has ruled that the state prison system has failed to justify denying a Muslim inmate special feast-day meats, such as oxen and camel.

In a unanimous ruling Friday, the Supreme Judicial Court said officials at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center had failed to show why providing the proper meats to Rashad Rasheed on certain holidays was a burden.

The decision reversed a Superior Court judge who dismissed Rasheed’s claim without a trial. The case now goes back to Superior Court for review.

The SJC ruling noted that the state Constitution goes further than the U.S. Constitution to protect the religious freedom of prisoners, The Boston Globe reported.

Justice Robert Cordy, writing for the court, said the Massachusetts Constitution is “more protective of the religious freedoms of prisoners than the United States Constitution, and ... the proper standard of review to be applied to the infringement of such freedoms is consequently more demanding.”…

SJC rulings are to legal reasoning what gibberish is to language.


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