880 F.2d 904 (7th Cir. 1989), 88-2123, Siddiqi v. Leak

Docket Nº:88-2123.
Citation:880 F.2d 904
Party Name:Idris Ibrahim SIDDIQI, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Spencer LEAK, [*] in His Official Capacity as Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:July 12, 1989
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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880 F.2d 904 (7th Cir. 1989)

Idris Ibrahim SIDDIQI, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Spencer LEAK, [*] in His Official Capacity as

Executive Director of the Cook County Department

of Corrections, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 88-2123.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 12, 1989

Argued April 13, 1989.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Elizabeth Dale, Kenneth Flaxman, Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C., Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

Joseph D. Ryan, Asst. State's Atty., Federal Litigation Unit, Chicago, Ill., for defendant-appellee.

Before WOOD, Jr., COFFEY, and MANION, Circuit Judges.

HARLINGTON WOOD, Jr., Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant Idris Ibrahim Siddiqi ("Siddiqi") was confined at the Cook County Jail ("Jail") for four months in 1985. During that time Siddiqi, who is a Muslim, was unable to attend Muslim services in the Jail. Siddiqi filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 alleging that Phillip T. Hardiman, then Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Corrections ("Director") denied Siddiqi his free exercise rights under the first amendment, as applied to the states through the fourteenth amendment. At trial, the jury returned a verdict for the Director. The district court then denied Siddiqi's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and this appeal followed.

The district court had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1343 over Siddiqi's claim for money damages under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. We have jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1291. Siddiqi asks us to reverse the trial court's entry of judgment for the Director, arguing that the district court incorrectly denied his motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Siddiqi also claims that a new trial is required since the district court did not inform the parties about certain jury instructions prior to closing arguments in violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 51.


Siddiqi converted to Islam in 1974 while serving time for armed robbery in the Pendleton Reformatory in Indiana. During his time at Pendleton Siddiqi, who changed his name for religious reasons, attended Muslim services and classes at the Reformatory. Siddiqi was next confined in the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary after being convicted of armed bank robbery. Siddiqi testified that he also attended Muslim services there. After being released from Terre Haute in 1980, Siddiqi worked for the Muslim Student Association for three years, until his arrest and conviction for another armed robbery in Illinois. Siddiqi served time in the Stateville Correctional Center, where he testified that he took part in Muslim religious activities.

Siddiqi's incarceration in the Cook County Jail began when he was accused and convicted of escaping from Stateville. Siddiqi was confined in the Cook County Jail from July 8 through November 1, 1985. Siddiqi served his time in Division One, the high security division of the jail. While incarcerated at Cook County, Siddiqi claims that he was unable to procure the services of a Muslim minister for weekly prayer services, known as Jumu'ah services. Beginning in August, Siddiqi made written and oral complaints to jail authorities asking that Muslim services be made available to him. Siddiqi testified that he was unable

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to attend Jumu'ah services anytime during his stay in the Cook County Jail.

The Cook County Jail accommodates the religious needs of its prisoners through an organization called the Chaplaincy Council ("Council"). In 1979, the Council was created to oversee religious activities in the Jail. The Council is made up of representatives of the religious organizations that were providing religious services to the Jail in 1979. At oral argument, counsel for defendant stated that there were nine Christian groups, one Jewish group, and one Muslim group represented on the Council and each group assigned one of their members to be a representative at Council meetings. The Council is charged with answering inmate requests for religious services and the individuals and groups providing religious services work under the supervision of a Council member. The Council controls 350 entrance passes allowing access to the Jail and distributes these passes to persons providing religious services in the Jail. To gain access to the Jail, a religious group could be recognized as a new group and be given a seat on the Council or it could affiliate with a group already seated on the Council. To gain recognition as a new group, a religious organization needs to present requests from a significant portion of the inmate population for the group's services and show basic religious and philosophical differences from other organizations already represented on the Council. If a new organization was recognized and given a seat on the Council, the current Council members would have to give up some of their allotted entrance passes. More commonly, new religious organizations were placed under the aegis of a current Council member.

The absence of Muslim services in Division One during Siddiqi's residence there can be traced to a dispute over what Muslim group or groups should be given access to the Jail. Since 1979, the American Muslim Mission ("AMM") had represented the Muslim faith on the Council. In June of 1983, representatives of the Muslim Community Center ("MCC") contacted the Director by letter and asked whether they might provide Jumu'ah religious services in the Jail. The Director advised the MCC representatives to present their request to the Council. The MCC did not contact anyone on the Council. They renewed their interest in December of 1983 by again contacting the Director, who asked Reverend Durel of the Council to set up a meeting with MCC officials and William Sullivan, the Superintendent of Division One ("Sullivan"). At this meeting in March of 1984, the MCC representative asked to have his organization recognized as an independent member of the Council, unaffiliated with another organization. Sullivan responded by noting that the AMM already coordinated Muslim activity in the Jail and stated that the MCC should work under the AMM. At its next meeting, the Council itself expressed its agreement with Sullivan, determining the MCC should work under the auspices of the AMM.

Three months later, in June of 1984, the MCC sent another letter to Reverend Durel again requesting independent recognition, claiming they were unable to work with the AMM. The Council reiterated its desire that the MCC work under the AMM and it was skeptical about having to choose between sects. The Council did request additional information from the MCC about its beliefs and tenets and invited its representative to attend the Council meeting scheduled for September 1984. No one from the MCC appeared at that meeting and the Council extended another invitation for the October meeting, still wanting the MCC to work through the AMM. At the October meeting the AMM representative, Yaqub Muhammad ("Muhammad"), and the MCC representatives reached an apparent agreement to cooperate in providing services. However, after the representatives of the two groups had left, the Council was informed by a third party that Muhammad was no longer authorized to speak on behalf of the AMM and was therefore unable to enter into any sort of agreement with the MCC.

This apparent disorder in the Muslim community continued as the Council attempted to determine who was authorized

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to represent the AMM. During 1985, the AMM was dissolving and it did not name a new representative to the Council until July. This new representative received Council approval in October, after a thorough examination of credentials. Meanwhile, in November of 1984, the MCC had indicated its refusal to abide by the agreement made at the October 1984 meeting since it was unable to recruit a sufficient number of ministers to provide services at the Jail. From November 1984 until September 1985, no one from the MCC contacted the Council about providing services.

It was during this period of turmoil that Siddiqi contacted the Director, stating that no Jumu'ah services were being conducted in Division One. The Council responded by explaining the problems caused by the divisions in the Muslim community. Uncertainty about who properly represented the AMM made it difficult to assign personnel to minister to all Muslim inmates. The Council told the plaintiff it was attempting to clear a new official representative who would take care of the problem. Siddiqi responded by demanding that a representative of the MCC, Abdudharr Muhammad Khalid Abdullah ("Abdullah"), be granted authorization to perform Jumu'ah services in Division One. The Council discussed Siddiqi's request at its September 1985 meeting and asked Abdullah to attend its October meeting. Mr. Abdullah did not attend, but other representatives of the MCC came to what was described as a very volatile meeting. No agreements were reached, although the newly appointed liaison from the AMM agreed to assist the MCC members in gaining access to the prison. However, by the time regular Muslim services resumed in November, Siddiqi had already been transferred out of the Cook County Jail.


At trial, Siddiqi argued that the Jail's refusal to recognize the MCC as a second Muslim group providing services prevented him from attending Muslim services during his time in the Jail. After the presentation of the evidence, the district judge and counsel for the parties discussed possible jury instructions. However, the judge did not present the final jury instructions to either counsel prior to closing arguments. The jury returned a verdict for the Director. The district court denied Siddiqi's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and Siddiqi filed this appeal. Siddiqi argues that the district court should have granted his...

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