Court: La. Prisons Can't Ban Nation of Islam Paper

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal appeals court says Louisiana state
prisons can't justify banning inmates from receiving copies of a
newspaper published by the Nation of Islam.

A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's ruling that the David Wade Correctional Center must deliver copies of The Final Call newspaper to Henry Leonard, a convicted murderer. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana backed Leonard's claims that the prison violated his right to free exercise of religion.

Prison officials argued the newspaper contains racist rhetoric that could provoke violence. However, during a 5th Circuit hearing in August, a lawyer for the attorney general's office couldn't point to any violent acts that could be linked to The Final Call.

The judges noted that the prison could delete an "objectionable page" without banning the entire newspaper.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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