Spurious Inmate Litigation Produces New
Legislation from Nevada's Senior Senator

   copyright 1997, Electric Nevada

Forty percent of the time of U.S. District Courts in Nevada is being taken up by bogus prisoner lawsuits, says U.S. Senator Harry Reid.
"In Nevada we have an inmate suing a chaplain for refusing to conduct a marriage ceremony for this man and his male friend," said Reid January 28 on the floor of the Senate.
"The plaintiff and his friend are both members of the Universal Life Church which he claims allows two people of the same sex to marry."
Other Nevada inmates, said Reid, are alleging their ability to practice a religion is being denied, in violation of the first amendment, "because they want special services, including incense and special jewelry."
The suits are a national problem, said Reid, as he introduced legislation he said would address the issue.
"One prisoner in New York has filed 3,000 lawsuits," he said.
"What are these lawsuits about? In

Nebraska there was a lawsuit filed because an inmate thinks he is a woman trapped in a man's body and strip searches by male prison officials are not allowed by his religion.
"We have another case where a satanic group--they are in prison, of course--filed suit because they were not given unbaptized baby fat for their candles."
Reid says his proposed legislation, U.S. Senate Bill 206, would prohibit the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, or any amendment made by such act, to individuals incarcerated in Federal, State, or local correctional, detention, or penal facilities.

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