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Hoeck v. Miklich

United States District Court, D. Colorado

August 27, 2014

DAVID B. HOECK, Plaintiff,
v.
LANCE MIKLICH, TED STENZEL, DARRYL PROFFIT, MARY TOOMEY, LINDA WORTHEN, SCOTT LANCASTER, TOM JORDAN, VALARIE CRAIG, KEN TOPLISS, J. STRICKLETT, and MARY ANN ALDRICH, Defendants.

ORDER

PHILIP A. BRIMMER, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Injunctive Relief [Docket No. 54] filed by plaintiff David B. Hoeck. Mr. Hoeck is currently incarcerated in the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in CaƱon City, Colorado. This case arises out of Mr. Hoeck's contention that defendant prison officials are substantially and unreasonably burdening his ability to practice his religion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief, which consists of essentially one paragraph, states in pertinent part:

Plaintiff has listed numerous practices and tenets of his faith, Biblical Christianity, which the Defendants are not allowing him to practice or observe. The Plaintiff hereby respectfully requests that this Honorable order [sic] grant him injunctive relief so that he may observe the Sabbaths and holy feast days at their proper time, that [Colorado Department of Corrections ("CDOC")] provide a place for worship on those days and appropriate meals throughout those days and that he be permitted to refrain from work on these Sabbaths and throughout each day of the holy feasts.

Docket No. 54 at 1. In addition, plaintiff submits an affidavit with his motion, in which he makes the following three specific complaints:

1. On March 31, 2014 the new moon was sighted, as well as the barley in the head and the flax in the bud, in Israel. This meant that the Passover was to be observed on April 13, 2014 at twilight. I notified the Defendants and there response was that CDOC does not recognize Biblical Christianity and that I would have to celebrate the Passover and feast of unleavened bread at the wrong times with the Messianic Judaism community. This is sin, which I must refrain from.
2. I purchased five Church of God Bible Hymnals, for the Church of God here, recently and the Defendants refused to allow me to have them initially. After I protested they allowed me to have them, but told me if I was to share them with the group of fellow believers, then I would be written a disciplinary report for Bartering. This is utter nonsense, other groups that are similarly situated here are allowed to share their group books and such during services.
3. I received a monetary gift from a member of the Church of God in Denver recently, which was refused by the Defendants and sent back to the remittur. Other inmates here have also received monetary gifts from their churches and church members, which were not returned. The Defendants have been very spiteful towards me and it will continue without injunctive relief from this Court.

Docket No. 54 at 2.

At the end of the affidavit, plaintiff generally requests that he "be afforded a place to worship on the proper days and times, meals in accordance with the Holy Bible, double portions and clean animals throughout each Sabbath and each day of the annual feasts." Id. He concludes by stating that he has "given the Defendants contact information and websites to be able to know when the new moons are sighted, which would allow them about ten to twelve hours to notify the Biblical Christians." Id.

Defendants' response to plaintiff's motion argues that injunctive relief is unavailable because plaintiff seeks to remedy past harm and because plaintiff fails to set forth the basis for the requested relief with sufficient specificity. Docket No. 56.

In his reply brief, plaintiff describes when the Sabbath and certain holidays must be observed and how to determine when a new month, season, or year has begun according to the Biblical Christian calendar. Docket No. 57 at 1 ("The new months begin when the first visible crescent moon is sighted in Zion. The new year begins when the barley is sighted in the head and the flax in the bud. The year will begin with the sighting of the crops in these states and in conjunction with the sighting of the new moon.") (internal citations omitted). He states that he will be "denied the opportunity to observe" the Feast of Weeks, from May 31, 2014 through June 1, 2014, and "many other Sabbaths, both weekly and annual, that will be coming up." Id.

Plaintiff also states that he is not permitted to have a "holy convocation" with other members of his faith because defendants will not allow more than two inmates to meet in a cell unless the door is open and "meeting in the dayhall part of ...


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