Case: Cooper v. Pate

62-Unknown | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Filed Date: July 5, 1962

Closed Date: June 29, 1967

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1963, an Illinois state prisoner who was a member of the Nation of Islam filed this §1983 suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, against his warden and the Illinois Director of Public Safety, alleging a violation of the prisoner's rights under the 14th, 8th, and 4th Amendments. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that he was denied permission to obtain and read certain publications, to consult with ministers of his faith, and to attend religious services…

In 1963, an Illinois state prisoner who was a member of the Nation of Islam filed this §1983 suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, against his warden and the Illinois Director of Public Safety, alleging a violation of the prisoner's rights under the 14th, 8th, and 4th Amendments. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that he was denied permission to obtain and read certain publications, to consult with ministers of his faith, and to attend religious services, solely because of his particular sect of Muslim religious beliefs. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleged that the state placed him in solitary confinement and in a segregation unit because of hostility towards his religion. Plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

The Court (Judge Richard B. Austin) dismissed the petition for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. On November 5, 1963, the 7th Circuit (Circuit Judge Duffy) affirmed the dismissal. 324 F.2d 165 (7th Cir. 1963). On June 22, 1964, the Supreme Court reversed the dismissal; without elaboration, the Court held: "Taking as true the allegations of the complaint, as they must be on a motion to dismiss, the complaint stated a cause of action and it was error to dismiss it." 378 U.S.546 (1964) (per curiam). This was the first modern prisoner civil rights lawsuit the Supreme Court allowed to proceed.

On remand, the District Court (Judge Richard B. Austin) held a trial. On July 23, 1965, the Court issued an opinion and order enjoining Defendants from (1) refusing to allow Plaintiff and other followers of Elijah Muhammad to purchase copies of the Holy Quran; (2) categorically refusing to allow followers of Elijah Muhammad to communicate by mail and visit with ministers of their faith; and (3) categorically refusing to allow followers of Elijah Muhammad to attend religious services. The Court also held that Plaintiff's religion did not entitle him to access to special newspapers and language books, and that Plaintiff's incarceration in a segregation unit was not due to his religion. Plaintiff and Defendant appealed different aspects of the judgment.

On June 29, 1967, the Seventh Circuit (Judge Fairchild) affirmed the trial court's injunction and opinion. 382 F.2d 518.

Summary Authors

Timothy Shoffner (4/29/2013)

People


Judge(s)

Duffy, Francis Ryan (Illinois)

Fairchild, Thomas Edward (Wisconsin)

Knoch, Winfred George (Illinois)

Swygert, Luther Merritt (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Elson, Alex (Illinois)

Weisberg, Bernard (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berman, Edward A (Illinois)

Clark, William G. (Illinois)

Kadjan, Daniel (Illinois)

Kaplan, Aubrey F (Illinois)

Judge(s)

Duffy, Francis Ryan (Illinois)

Fairchild, Thomas Edward (Wisconsin)

Knoch, Winfred George (Illinois)

Swygert, Luther Merritt (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Elson, Alex (Illinois)

Weisberg, Bernard (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berman, Edward A (Illinois)

Clark, William G. (Illinois)

Kadjan, Daniel (Illinois)

Kaplan, Aubrey F (Illinois)

Sarnow, Raymond S (Illinois)

Wines, William C (Illinois)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

63-14127

COA Petition

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

April 23, 1963

April 23, 1963

Pleading / Motion / Brief

63-14127

Opinion [7th Circuit]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

324 F.2d 165

Nov. 5, 1963

Nov. 5, 1963

Order/Opinion

63-01134

Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis

Supreme Court of the United States

March 4, 1964

March 4, 1964

Pleading / Motion / Brief

63-01134

Response to Petition for Writ of Certiorari

Supreme Court of the United States

May 2, 1964

May 2, 1964

Pleading / Motion / Brief

63-01134

Opinion [SCOTUS]

Supreme Court of the United States

378 U.S. 546

June 22, 1964

June 22, 1964

Order/Opinion

67-15462

63-15463

Opinion [7th Circuit]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

382 F.2d 518

June 29, 1967

June 29, 1967

Order/Opinion

63-14127

Brief and Argument for Respondents-Appellees

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

None

None

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Illinois

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 5, 1962

Closing Date: June 29, 1967

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

An Illinois prisoner who subscribed to the Elijah Muhammad sect of Islam

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State of Illinois, State

State of Illinois (Cook), State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Equal Protection

Free Exercise Clause

Freedom of speech/association

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1965 - None

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Issues

General:

Religious programs / policies

Discrimination-basis:

Religion discrimination

Type of Facility:

Government-run