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Houston, TX - Appeals Court Finds State Of Texas Erred In Denying Kosher Meals To Jewish Prisoner

Published on: December 31, 2012 10:52 AM
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Moussazadeh was transferred to the Mark W Stiles Unit in Beaumont, Texas, which does not provide free kosher meals for inmates.Moussazadeh was transferred to the Mark W Stiles Unit in Beaumont, Texas, which does not provide free kosher meals for inmates.

Houston, TX - Max Moussazadeh, 35, a prisoner who sued the state of Texas for refusing to provide him with free kosher food while incarcerated, will now receive kosher meals following a ruling by the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In his 2005 complaint, Moussazadeh wrote, “I feel that I am going against my beliefs and that I will be punished by God for not practicing my religion correctly.” Moussazadeh sued under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which precludes the government from “restricting religious rights of an institutionalized person.” Moussazadeh was imprisoned for acting as a lookout in a 1993 shooting death of a man during a robbery in Houston.

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Moussazadeh was originally serving his time at the Stringfellow Unit prison facility which has a kosher kitchen, but owing to disciplinary violations, he was later transferred to the Stiles Unit where only basic kosher items are available for purchase.

The Houston Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/UEcBHH) that Moussazadeh’s case was initially dismissed by the district court after attorneys for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice argued that Moussazadeh was insincere in his claim of being a devout Orthodox Jew, and contended that Moussazadeh did not always adhere to a kosher diet at the Stringfellow Unit where kosher meals were readily available.

In its December 21 ruling, the Court of Appeals found that the lower court erred in dismissing the case and that Texas infringed on Moussazadeh’s genuine beliefs as an Orthodox Jew by failing to provide him with free kosher meals.

In addition to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, there are 35 prison systems throughout the United States which offer free kosher food to Jewish inmates. In Texas, inmates are given the option of pork-free, meat-free, and regular diet meals, but it was not until 2007, that the state instituted a kosher kitchen for observant Jewish prisoners at the Stringfellow Unit.


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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM Anonymous Says:

my understand, what caused a lot of issues was this guy regularly eating treif and being a discipline problem. officials decided he was insincere in his religious beliefs and cut him off the kosher stuff.

2

 Dec 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM sandymoos Says:

So he's gonna be punished for not eating kosher...he could have kosher food if he weren't transferred for being a bad guy...he wouldn't be punished if he weren't in jail by being involved in a shooting death.

3

 Dec 31, 2012 at 12:38 PM matt123 Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

my understand, what caused a lot of issues was this guy regularly eating treif and being a discipline problem. officials decided he was insincere in his religious beliefs and cut him off the kosher stuff.

my understand, is the court don't agree with you understand

4

 Dec 31, 2012 at 12:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Max Moussazadeh, serving a life sentence for murder, wrote the following letter to Randy after he received habeas corpus relief and was resentenced to 30 years:
“I want to thank you for all your help and for getting me to where I am now. I know that I could not have done it without you. Over the years I lost hope and never thought I would make it to this point. You made all of this possible for me and once again I want to thank you.”

5

 Dec 31, 2012 at 12:47 PM matt123 Says:

Reply to #2  
sandymoos Says:

So he's gonna be punished for not eating kosher...he could have kosher food if he weren't transferred for being a bad guy...he wouldn't be punished if he weren't in jail by being involved in a shooting death.

So you decided that Jews who go to jail should have to eat treif, despite the appeals court not agreeing with you. If the law of this great country is that a Jew in jail should be provided with Kosher food, and some official running the jail decided to act against the law and deny this inmate kosher food, why do you need to make pompous statements that indicate you don't think inmates should get Kosher food. It does not make sense your attitude comes from a Jewish background, because you would understand the discomfort and internal suffering eating non-kosher food could do to someone who believes it is wrong, DESPITE HAVING COMMITTED TERRIBLE CRIMES, so it must be your attitude is from a non jewish perspective who does not think any deference to religion should be given in prison or your attitude is antisemitcal where you believe in sticking it to Jews. But even if your attitude is just plain not caring about religion it should not bother you a lot that a Jew gets Kosher food in prison as he is still serving time and getting punished, so I must conclude your attitude is antisemitcal.

6

 Dec 31, 2012 at 01:05 PM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #3  
matt123 Says:

my understand, is the court don't agree with you understand

The court didn't disagree with those facts, just held that he's entitled to kosher food anyway.

7

 Dec 31, 2012 at 01:06 PM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #5  
matt123 Says:

So you decided that Jews who go to jail should have to eat treif, despite the appeals court not agreeing with you. If the law of this great country is that a Jew in jail should be provided with Kosher food, and some official running the jail decided to act against the law and deny this inmate kosher food, why do you need to make pompous statements that indicate you don't think inmates should get Kosher food. It does not make sense your attitude comes from a Jewish background, because you would understand the discomfort and internal suffering eating non-kosher food could do to someone who believes it is wrong, DESPITE HAVING COMMITTED TERRIBLE CRIMES, so it must be your attitude is from a non jewish perspective who does not think any deference to religion should be given in prison or your attitude is antisemitcal where you believe in sticking it to Jews. But even if your attitude is just plain not caring about religion it should not bother you a lot that a Jew gets Kosher food in prison as he is still serving time and getting punished, so I must conclude your attitude is antisemitcal.

antisemitical?

The poster was making a comment about aveirah goreres aveirah, not saying that the guy should be denied kosher food.

8

 Dec 31, 2012 at 01:28 PM sandymoos Says:

Reply to #5  
matt123 Says:

So you decided that Jews who go to jail should have to eat treif, despite the appeals court not agreeing with you. If the law of this great country is that a Jew in jail should be provided with Kosher food, and some official running the jail decided to act against the law and deny this inmate kosher food, why do you need to make pompous statements that indicate you don't think inmates should get Kosher food. It does not make sense your attitude comes from a Jewish background, because you would understand the discomfort and internal suffering eating non-kosher food could do to someone who believes it is wrong, DESPITE HAVING COMMITTED TERRIBLE CRIMES, so it must be your attitude is from a non jewish perspective who does not think any deference to religion should be given in prison or your attitude is antisemitcal where you believe in sticking it to Jews. But even if your attitude is just plain not caring about religion it should not bother you a lot that a Jew gets Kosher food in prison as he is still serving time and getting punished, so I must conclude your attitude is antisemitcal.

'cmon Matt...I just don't believe that a person who is involved in murder would really care about keeping kosher...

One of (my soon to be) relatives works at Rikers Island and he says that many of the non-religious Jews request kosher food, only because it is so much better than the prison fare that they normally get.

As for being antisemetic--rubbish!! You should apologize!

9

 Dec 31, 2012 at 03:03 PM Pimpernuter Says:

To No. 5:
Very well said! So true!

10

 Dec 31, 2012 at 07:34 PM TexasJew Says:

I've been living here long enough to know every kosher eating orthodox murderer and he's not orthodox. I think he's a Muslim who just wants "kosher" food.

11

 Jan 01, 2013 at 08:44 AM Yossel Says:

Reply to #10  
TexasJew Says:

I've been living here long enough to know every kosher eating orthodox murderer and he's not orthodox. I think he's a Muslim who just wants "kosher" food.

If he were Muslim he would have asked for Halal food. It's the same constitutional issue. So you acquaint yourself with all the Jewish murderers in the state of Texas, do you? A man is judged by the company he keeps.

12

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