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Jordan v. Keim

August 7, 2009

DERRICK JORDAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHAPLAIN STEVE KEIM, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

Plaintiff, Derrick Jordan, is an inmate at the Menard Correctional Center, and is a Hebrew Israelite. The plaintiff has alleged that during 2001, 2002, and 2003 the defendant, Steve Keim, a Chaplin at Menard, prevented him from participating in a religious ritual of his faith, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, and that the defendant has a discriminatory animus against people of the Hebrew Israelite faith, in violation of plaintiff's First Amendment rights. The Court previously entered partial summary judgment against plaintiff on his claims of Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection violations as they related to the Feasts in the years 2001 and 2003, finding that the plaintiff had failed to establish a constitutional violation for either of those years. (See, Doc. 32).

The Court held a bench trial on the only remaining claim (relating to the 2002 Feast) and took the matter under advisement. Plaintiff's claim with respect to the year 2002 is that he did not receive equal treatment with respect to his request to participate in the Feast of Unleavened Bread in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Court now makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

A. FINDINGS OF FACT

The following facts are undisputed by the Parties and the Court adopts them:

1. Plaintiff was, at all times relevant to this claim, an inmate in the custody of IDOC at Menard Correctional Center.

2. At all relevant times, Defendant Keim was employed by the Illinois Department of Corrections as a chaplain and was acting under color of state law.

3. In January of 2001, plaintiff changed his designation/affiliation within the Institution from Christian to African-Hebrew Israelite.

4. The African-Hebrew Israelite religion was not a recognized religion within the IDOC system until October 3, 2003.

5. The Illinois Administrative Code requires that if a committed person requests a dietary modification for a specific religious holiday, he must submit a written request to the facility chaplain 45 calendar days before the holiday or ceremony. The request must contain verification that the person is a member of the faith group. The facility chaplain may determine eligibility to receive the alternate diet for the religious holiday or ceremony. The facility chaplain shall "ordinarily" confer with a religious leader or faith representative of the faith at issue and the chaplain and religious leader may interview the committed person. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 425.70(d).

6. On February 11, 2002, the plaintiff submitted a written request for dietary modification for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

7. Plaintiff's 2002 request was denied by defendant Keim.

8. Keim advised plaintiff that his request was denied because it was not submitted 45 days before the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

9. In October of 2003, Hebrew Israelite was added by the DOC to its list of recognized religious affiliations/designations and in 2004 and 2005 plaintiff was allowed to receive a dietary ...


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