Posted to Religious Diversity News on July 17, 1999
Source: Sacramento Bee
On July 17, 1999, the Sacramento Bee reported that U.S.
District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton cited the California Department of
Corrections in contempt of court for not fully implementing a court
decision in February of 1999 that ensured the right of every Muslim
inmate to attend Jumu’ah prayer services at midday on Fridays. Ernest
Fenelon, a California Medical Facility inmate who is Muslim, brought
suit against the Department of Corrections in 1995 for not allowing
him to attend Jumu’ah services. Judge Karlton ruled in Fenelon’s
favor in February, but the Department of Corrections granted only
Fenelon the freedom to attend services – not all Muslim inmates.
Speaking to the lawyers defending the Department of Corrections,
Karlton railed: “It is only my good sense that keeps me from putting
you and your clients in jail and let you see what it feels like.”
Karlton also added that the Department of Corrections “will face
sanctions by the court” if it does not submit a plan to accommodate
all Muslim prisoners.