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Muntaqim v. Lay
Supreme Court of Arkansas
June 6, 2019
Malik MUNTAQIM, Appellant
Gaylon R. LAY, Warden; Wendy Kelley, Director of ADC; Ray Hobbs, Director of ADC; Larry May, Chief Deputy Director; Grant Harris, Deputy Director; Raymond Naylor, Internal Affairs Administrator; Randy Watson, Warden, Varner Unit; Marvin Evans, Deputy Director; Eddie Selvey, Deputy Warden, ADC; Crystal Wood, Classification Officer, Cummins Unit; Patricia Baxter, Mailroom Supervisor, Cummins Unit; Leonard Banks, Chaplain, Cummins Unit; Sgt. S. Cook, Correctional Officer, Cummins Unit; Tiffanye Compton, Grievance Coordinator, Central Office; Dennise Alexander, Publication Review, Central Office; Jan Scussel, Publication Review, Central Office; Tami Aiken, Publication Review, Central Office; John M. Wheeler, Religious Administrator, Central Office; April Gibson, Grievance Officer, Cummins Unit; Lisa R. Hall, Grievance Officer, Cummins Unit; Muhammad Ameed, Islamic Chaplain, Central Office, Appellees
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO.
35CV-15-184], HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE
A. WOMACK, Associate Justice
Muntaqim, an inmate of the Arkansas Department of Correction
(ADC), appeals the denial of his motion for preliminary
injunction. The circuit court denied the motion on the basis
that Muntaqim failed to demonstrate both irreparable harm and
a likelihood of success on the merits. We affirm.
Procedural and Factual Background
Muntaqim is a professed member of the Nation of Islam (NOI),
an alternative branch of the Islamic faith. He filed the
underlying suit against numerous ADC officials under,
inter alia, the Free Exercise Clause of First
Amendment to the United States Constitution and the federal
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
(RLUIPA). Muntaqim contends that prison officials have
unlawfully withheld a number of issues of The Final
Call, a weekly periodical published by the NOI, and have
unconstitutionally prohibited him from leading NOI services.
He moved for a preliminary injunction against ADC’s
publications policy as applied to NOI material and against
ADC’s religious services policy so that he may lead NOI
services in prison.
the second interlocutory appeal related to Muntaqim’s motion
for preliminary injunction. See Muntaqim v.
Hobbs, 2017 Ark. 97, 514 S.W.3d 464. In the first
appeal, we reversed and remanded with instructions for the
circuit court to conduct a hearing on the motion.
Id. During the hearing on remand, Muntaqim testified
that he has consistently received The Final Call and
other NOI material since 2015. He alleged that he had
periodically been denied issues of The Final Call
between 2013 and 2015 while incarcerated at a different unit.
The court also heard testimony about the weekly Islamic
prayer services offered to prisoners and Muntaqim’s refusal
to attend because of the presence of orthodox Muslims. ADC
officials testified about the publication and religious
service policies and their general application within the
court issued a written order denying Muntaqim’s motion for
preliminary injunction. It held that Muntaqim failed to show
any irreparable harm if the ADC policy prohibiting
publications that promote violence remained in effect. The
court also determined that Muntaqim failed to demonstrate a
likelihood of success on the merits. It held that Muntaqim
seeks to overturn judicial precedent recognizing the
legitimate penological interests in the safety and welfare of
prisoners, prison staff, and visitors. But he failed to offer
any authority supporting his claims. While the court
recognized that Muntaqim’s claims were brought under the
First Amendment and RLUIPA, its analysis was limited to the
First Amendment. Muntaqim did not request any findings
related to the RLUIPA claims. This appeal followed.
Standard of Review
preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary remedy ...
reserved for extraordinary circumstances." Drummond
Citizens Ins. Co. v. Sergeant, 266 Ark. 611, 621, 588
S.W.2d 419, 424 (1979). When determining whether to grant a
preliminary injunction, circuit courts must consider two
factors: (1) whether irreparable harm will result in the
absence of an injunction; and (2) whether the moving party
has demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.
See Muntaqim, 2017 Ark. 97, at 3, 514
S.W.3d at 467. A party seeking a preliminary injunction bears
the burden of demonstrating both factors. See
Smith v. Am. Trucking Ass’n, Inc., 300 Ark. 594,
596, 781 S.W.2d 3, 4 (1989).
will only reverse a decision to deny a preliminary injunction
for abuse of discretion, which occurs when the decision is
made "thoughtlessly and without due consideration."
Muntaqim, 2017 Ark. 97, at 3, 514 S.W.3d at 467. Any
factual findings that lead to the circuit court’s conclusions
of irreparable harm and likelihood of success on the merits
will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. Baptist
Health v. Murphy,365 Ark. 115, 121, 226 S.W.3d 800, 806
(2006). The decision to issue a preliminary injunction rests
within the sound discretion of the circuit court, and not in
the discretion of this court. Id. Accordingly, we
will not delve into the merits of the case further than
necessary to determine whether the circuit court exceeded its