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Monday, September 24, 2007

Mortimer Hetsberger v. Department of Corrections

08-24-07 A-4813-05T1

We reverse and remand a summary judgment dismissal because
the trial court did not apply the two-part standard of the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000
(RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000cc-1, in determining whether genuine
issues of material fact existed. The State prison inmate had
pleaded RLUIPA and the trial court was obliged to determine
whether DOC regulations regarding security threat groups and its
actions in respect of this plaintiff are (1) "in furtherance of
a compelling governmental interest; and (2) . . . the least
restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental
interest." The trial court's application only of First
Amendment standards did not satisfy the statutory requirements.