Posts tagged "Trapp"

Trapp, et al. v. Roden, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-186-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11863   RANDALL TRAPP & another[1]  vs.  GARY RODEN[2] & others.[3]     Worcester.     October 5, 2015. – November 23, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ. Commissioner of Correction.  Imprisonment.  Religion.  Contract, Settlement agreement, Performance and breach.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on September 30, 2010.   The case was heard by Cornelius J. Moriarty, II, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Richard C. McFarland for the defendants. Jarrett M. Scarpaci for the plaintiffs. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Maggie Ellen Filler for Prisoners’ Legal Services. Joel West Williams, of Pennsylvania, & Gabriel S. Galanda, of Washington, for Huy. Yale Yechiel N. Robinson, pro se.   DUFFLY, J.  Randall Trapp and Robert Ferreira, who are adherents of Native American religious practices, are both incarcerated at Department of Correction (DOC) facilities.  In 2010, Trapp and Ferreira filed an amended complaint in the Superior Court contending, among other things, that the DOC’s closure of the purification lodge[4] at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center (SBCC) violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc-1 et seq. (2012) (RLUIPA); art. 2 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; and a settlement agreement reached in 2003 to resolve a prior lawsuit brought by Trapp against the DOC.  The complaint named Gary Roden, Commissioner of Correction, and two DOC employees at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk (MCI-Norfolk) as defendants.  After a jury-waived trial in July, 2012, a Superior Court judge concluded that the closure of the lodge at SBCC violated the plaintiffs’ rights under all three asserted theories, and entered a declaratory judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on those claims.[5]  The DOC appealed, and we transferred the case to this court on our own motion.  We conclude that the closure of the lodge at SBCC violates RLUIPA and the settlement agreement.  Accordingly, we do not reach the constitutional question.[6] Background.  The dispute at the crux of this case dates back two decades.  In 1995, Trapp and four other inmates (Ferreira was not among them) filed a complaint in the Superior Court asserting that the DOC had violated their rights to exercise their religion.  After extensive litigation over a number of years, in 2003 the parties […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm

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