In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy:
I am just writing to all of you to inform you of some good news on a lawsuit I have filed in the Southern District of Illinois over our prisons’ denial of our ability to pray in congregation, as I believe each of you are interested in these proceedings in one way or another. To clarify, there are two CMUs, but only people at the one in Terre Haute, Indiana are now allowed to make congregational prayer, and the Muslims in the CMU where I am incarcerated (Marion, IL) are still prohibited, so this is different from the suit by John (Yahya) Walker Lindh.
My suit recently passed screening, although I had some errors I am trying to correct to get some dismissed defendants back in the case, which is a very important hurdle. The judge took judicial notice of the suit filed by Yahya Lindh, and also ordered a magistrate judge to hold an evidentiary hearing for a preliminary injunction as soon as possible. This is of course important, but I just received some news which is actually a better sign of how the court is likely to behave in this case than even these matters.
Today, I received an order granting my motion for appointment of counsel, which means that the court is going to pay for me to have an attorney. Courts rarely do this in cases filed by prisoners, and it is almost unheard of when the case is at such an early stage as this one is. In fact, the defendants have not even made an appearance in court yet, much less have they filed any of the different types of motions to dismiss all or part of the case that normally occur before a court will even entertain a motion for appointment of counsel (literally it is apparently for “recruitment,” not appointment, but they are effectively the same thing). Thus, the order granting this motion is a strong indication that the court views this as a highly meritorious case, which deserves the professional expertise of a licensed attorney to make sure the right verdict is reached.
Allah knows best when I will actually obtain counsel, but this should also literally save me hundreds of hours of work, so it is a great blessing in that regard to, for which I thank my Lord.
We ask for your prayers and your support going forward.
Anyone who has questions should feel free to send them.
Zachary Adam Chesser #76715-083 USP Marion U.S. Penitentiary PO Box 1000 Marion, IL 62959 USA