Nathan Lewin, the attorney for two Jewish Defense League members seeking kosher food during their prison terms for criminal contempt, said today he would file an appeal in a day or two against a ruling rejecting the kosher food request. Federal Court Judge Thomas Griesa ruled yesterday against the request from Jeffrey Smilow and Richard Huss, who were convicted last July after they refused to testify against three other JDL members who were arrested in the Jan. 1972 bombing of the New York offices of Sol Hurok.
Smilow and Huss are presently in the Federal House of Detention in Manhattan. They have been ordered to serve their one-year terms, which started last month, at the Federal Youth Center in Ashland, Ky. They had contended they had a Constitutional right under the First Amendment to be served kosher food in the Ashland facility and, that if this was not possible, they be allowed to remain at the Manhattan facility where frozen kosher pre-packaged meals could be brought in.
Judge Griesa said a prisoner can retain only those Constitutional rights “which are not inconsistent with his status as a prisoner and with the legitimate penological objectives of the corrections system.” He ruled that the federal Bureau of Prisons was “entirely correct in refusing to purchase special food for one group of prisoners.” Lewin said he would file an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit here on the Constitutional issue.
The Griesa ruling may have a bearing on a similar demand by Rabbi Meir Kahane, the JDL founder, who has been held in a, Manhattan West Side half-way house, where he is serving a one year term for violation of parole. Under an order from Federal Judge Jack Weinstein, Kahane is permitted to leave the facility daily to obtain kosher food and to worship. Judge Weinstein has reserved decision on a request by federal attorneys for Kahane’s immediate transfer to a federal prison at Allenwood, Pa., where Kahane said he could not obtain kosher food.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.