Ware v. Louisiana Department of Corrections, No. 16-31012 (5th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, an inmate in custody and an adherent to the Rastafari religion who has dread locks, filed suit seeking a declaration that the Department of Corrections grooming policies violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and an injunction against the grooming policies being applied to him. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of relief, holding that the Department failed to satisfy its burden to show the polices were the least restrictive means of serving a compelling interest. In this case, the Department had a full and fair opportunity during a two-day bench trial to satisfy this burden. The court rendered judgment granting plaintiff's request for a declaration that the grooming policies, as applied to him, violated RLUIPA and enjoining the Department from enforcing the grooming policies against him.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 17, 2017.