Rich, who was sentenced in 1999 and will spend the rest of his life in jail, sued Florida's Department of Correction back in 2010. He believes denying him Kosher food is violating his rights as per the the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Ironic, since he violated his parents right to life by murdering them and staging it as a murder suicide. It always amazes me that these prisoners who profess to be so religious obviously had no problem committing heinous crimes.
Prison systems have been battling these lawsuits from vegetarians, Muslims and Jews for a long while. In some cases special meals were provided, but then dispensed with. The Florida prison system claims it's just too costly, and a security risk to boot:
... because it could lead to retaliation against inmates getting kosher meals if other inmates believed the kosher food was of higher quality.
However, the appeals court couldn't care less because cold-blooded murderers need to have their special dietary restrictions catered to.
Rich appealed that ruling to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which on Tuesday overruled the summary judgment and sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings.Oddly enough, Union Correctional Institution did re-institute the kosher meal plan at the facility last month. The appeals court believes this was done to "manipulate" the case.
A three judge panel of the appeals court said that the state hadn't shown it had either a compelling interest in denying Rich and other prisoners the diet, or that denying the diet was the least restrictive means of serving whatever that compelling interest might be.
"While safety and cost can be compelling governmental interests, the defendants have not carried their burden to show that Florida?s policy in fact furthered these two interests," U.S. Circuit Judge Beverly B. Martin wrote in the panel's opinion.
"There is nothing to suggest that Florida will not simply end the new kosher meal program at some point in the future, just as it did in 2007."And it's not just prison inmates suing, the Feds are getting into the action too.
What a colossal waste of taxpayer money.