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BRYANT v. MCGINNIS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


November 22, 1978

Willis X. BRYANT, Lionel X. Jones, and Arthur Johnson, Plaintiffs,
v.
Paul McGINNIS, Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: CURTIN

With the damages trial of this matter, held on May 2, 1978, the long and tortuous path of this litigation wends closer to a final resolution.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

 This action was begun nearly seventeen years ago on October 10, 1961, when William SaMarion filed with this court a hand-written, Pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 in which he alleged that he and other inmates of the Attica State Prison were being denied the right to embrace and practice the Religion of Islam as members of the Muslim sect led by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

 Shortly thereafter, the New York State Court of Appeals decided Brown v. McGinnis, 10 N.Y.2d 531, 225 N.Y.S.2d 497, 180 N.E.2d 791, on January 25, 1962. Brown v. McGinnis was a mandamus action in which the petitioner, a member of the Islamic faith, sought to be allowed to receive spiritual advice, ministration, and religious services from the local temple of Islam that was located in New York City and headed by Malcolm X. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts, which had denied the petitioner's application without a hearing, and remitted the action to the trial court. Subsequently, the proceeding was dismissed when the petitioner was released from custody.


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