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Brooks v. Roy

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 27, 2015

Wesley Eugene Brooks, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Tom Roy; David Crist; Terry Carlson; Nanette Larson; Bruce Reisner; Douglas Panser; James Schaffer; Jane Does 1-10, Defendants - Appellees

Submitted December 12, 2014

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

Wesley Eugene Brooks, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Faribault, MN.

For Wesley Eugene Brooks, Plaintiff - Appellant: Karin Ciano, Karen E. Mohrlant, F. Clayton Tyler, Minneapolis, MN.

For Tom Roy, David Crist, Terry Carlson, Nanette Larson, Bruce Reisner, Douglas Panser, James Schaffer, Defendants - Appellees: Angela Behrens, Assistant Attorney General, ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, MN.

Before LOKEN, BRIGHT, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 958

KELLY, Circuit Judge

Wesley Eugene Brooks is a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault, Minnesota (" MCF-Faribault" ). He sued various officials at his prison and alleged that his required chemical-dependency program conflicted with his religious beliefs. The district court[1] dismissed some of Brooks's claims and granted summary judgment for the defendants on his other claims. Because we conclude that Brooks's complaint failed to state a claim on which relief may be granted, we affirm the judgment.[2]

I. Background

Brooks is incarcerated for Minnesota convictions of first-degree DWI and assaulting an officer. Once admitted into the Minnesota Department of Corrections (" MDOC" ) system, Brooks received a chemical-dependency assessment, as all new inmates are required to have under Minnesota law, and was ordered to complete treatment in order to be transferred to a lower-security prison, qualify for work release, and avoid disciplinary sanctions. Brooks began treatment at MCF-Faribault in November 2011.

In February 2012, Brooks filed a federal complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (" RLUIPA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq.; the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (" AIRFA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 1996; and the Minnesota Constitution. He claimed that his required chemical-dependency program deprived him of his right to the free exercise of his religion. Brooks named as defendants various MDOC agency heads; the director of psychological services at MCF-Faribault, Douglas Panser; the director of the New Dimensions Chemical Dependency Program (through which Brooks was receiving his treatment), James Schaffer; and various John/Jane Does. Each defendant was sued in her or his official and individual capacities.

According to Brooks, he was placed into a 12-step program at New Dimensions because there is no alternative program at MCF-Faribault for those of a Native American faith. He says that the program " conflicts with his Native American religious faith" because it forces him to " profess beliefs that are inconsistent with his faith, which he does not wish to do." Brooks does not, however, specify his religion or allege which principles of his religion are compromised or unaccommodated at MCF-Faribault. Instead, he requests to participate in what he asserts is a culturally appropriate treatment program available at the Mash-ka-wisen treatment center in Sawyer, Minnesota, which is 191 miles north ...


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