AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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Prisoner Change of Name
Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoner
Name Changes, 2011
(6) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
No law prohibited an inmate incarcerated in a California county jail while waiting to be sentenced in federal court on federal convictions from legally changing his name. The trial court erred in deciding that such a name change would necessarily be illegal. On remand, the trial court must determine whether there were any substantial reasons for denying the name change petition. In re Arnett, #F049847, 2007 Cal. App. Lexis 359 (5th Dist.).
While a prisoner stated a claim under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, for money damages and injunctive relief based on refusal to allow him to use his Islamic religious name to send or receive mail, trial court declined to issue a preliminary injunction requiring that he be allowed to use that religious name on his mail because the merits of his claims were "tenuous," and he could obtain damages if he prevailed. Further, any harm he suffered was not "irreparable," since he could still receive mail under his incarceration name, and could use his religious name inside the mail. Shidler v. Moore, No. 3:05-CV-804, 409 F. Supp. 2d 1060 (N.D. Ind. 2006). [N/R]
While a prisoner had a legitimate interest in recognition of the new, legally adopted name he obtained for religious reasons, he was not entitled to have pre-existing documents which pre-dated the name change altered. United States v. Baker, No. 05-10525, 415 F.3d 1273 (11th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Nov]
A prisoner convicted of sodomy on his nephew, a child less than twelve years-old, could not be granted a requested name change he wanted to assume his deceased mother's maiden name to honor her. Despite the fact that he would be required, following his sentence, to register as a sex offender, people who knew him by the name used prior to his incarceration might not get alerted to his presence and sex offender status unless his name remained the same. In Matter of Application of Guttkaiss, 806 N.Y.S.2d 402 (Sup. Ct. Columbia County, 2005). [N/R]
Prison did not violate "Charismatic Christian" inmate's right to religious freedom by failing to use his new "religiously inspired" name and by failing to honor his religious vegetarian dietary requests. Use of his commitment name in prison computers used when preparing money orders and official documents was justified by legitimate penological interest in holding down costs, since computers were programmed with commitment names. Prisoner was offered a vegetable option in lieu of the meat main course on meals, and a legitimate concern about controlling costs justified denying his requests for raw vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts, honey, whole wheat bread, cheese and grains. Ephraim v. Angelone, 313 F. Supp. 2d 569 (E.D. Va. 2003). [N/R]
289:12 Florida prison's initial refusal to put death row prisoner's legally adopted religious name on his identification card together with the name under which he had been imprisoned violated his right to exercise his religion. Hakim v. Hicks, No. 98-3062, 99-12050, 223 F.3d 1244 (11th Cir. 2000).
236:123 Prisoner's right to use his legally adopted religious name on outgoing mail together with his committed name was clearly established in 1990, federal appeals court rules, and prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly punishing him for doing so; notary, however, was entitled to qualified immunity for refusing to notarize document when signature presented did not match prison identification shown. Malik v. Brown, 71 F.3d 724 (9th Cir. 1995).
232:61 Update: Federal appeals court rules that Muslim inmate who legally changed his name was entitled to use both his religious and committed names on correspondence; prior ruling by court reached same result without reference to Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Malik v. Brown, 65 F.3d 148 (9th Cir. 1995).
225:140 Prison policy requiring inmate with new religious name to also use his "committed" name on all correspondence incoming and outgoing did not violate prisoner's rights. Fawaad v. Herring, 874 F.Supp. 350 (N.D. Ala. 1995).
217:12 Florida prisoner who sought to change his name because of his conversion to Islam religious faith should not have been denied name change without an evidentiary hearing. Hoyos v. Singletary, 639 So.2d 631 (Fla. App. 1994).
217:13 Texas state statute restricting name changes by convicted felons did not violate prisoner's right to free exercise of his Muslim religion, since it was connected to legitimate governmental interests. Matthews v. Morales, 23 F.3d 118 (5th Cir. 1994).
Muslim inmate who legally changed his name was entitled to use both his religious and committed names on correspondence; prison officials violated his rights if correspondence they refused to process contained both names, federal appeals court holds. Malik v. Brown, 16 F.3d 330 (9th Cir. 1994).
Inmate's request that prison use his new Islamic name was not based on a sincerely held religious belief, but even if it had been, the prison officials did not violate his First Amendment rights by refusing to exclusively use his new name. Thacker v. Dixon, 784 F.Supp. 286 (E.D.N.C. 1991).
Prison's policy of refusing to add prisoner's Muslim name to his clothing and mail delivery list was an unreasonable restraint on religious freedom. Salaam v. Lockhart, 905 F.2d 1168 (8th Cir. 1990).
U.S. appeals court remands case on prisoners' use of Muslim names for determination of whether alternative of A/K/A on mail and prison clothing is reasonable. Salaam v. Lockhart, 856 F.2d 1120 (8th Cir. 1988).
Prisoner who converted to islam did not have clearly established constitutional right to refuse to respond to committed name. Muhammad v. Wainwright, 839 F.2d 1422 (11th Cir. 1987).
Requirement that prisoner sign both committed name and legal muslim name when entering library did not violate religious freedom. Felix v. Rolan, 833 F.2d 517 (5th Cir. 1987).
Inmates properly segregated for refusing I.D. cards with "committed" and adopted names. Mujihadeen v. Compton, 627 F.Supp. 356 (W.D. Tenn. 1985).
Rights between prison and inmates discussed when Moslems change their names. Azeez v. Fairman, 604 F.Supp. 357 (C.D. Ill. 1985).
Court upholds four-bag rule; no violation in not recognizing use of Muslim names. Salahuddin v. Coughlin, 591 F.Supp. 353 (N.D.N.Y. 1984).
Prison's policy of requiring Muslim inmates to use non- Muslim commitment names violates First Amendment; exception made for records-keeping. Masjid Muhammad - D.C.C. v. Keye, 479 F.Supp. 1311 (D. Del. 1979).
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