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Prall v. Burlington City Municipal Court

July 29, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Noel L. Hillman United States District Judge


HILLMAN, District Judge.

This matter is before the court pursuant to a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, filed by petitioner Tormu E. Prall ("Prall"), on or about May 28, 2009. The sole respondent is the Burlington City Municipal Court. Petitioner submitted an incomplete application to proceed in forma pauperis, which does not include a certification from an authorized official at Mercer County Correction Center ("MCCC") regarding petitioner's account balance. See Local Civil Rule 81.2(b). However, because it appears that Prall is not entitled to issuance of the writ, the Court will dismiss the Petition, and direct that the action be closed without assessing any fees or costs.


According to the allegations contained in the petition, Prall alleges that he has an open case in Burlington City Municipal Court for which a detainer has been lodged against Prall with the Mercer County Correction Center. Significantly, Prall fails to identify the "open case" or charge, nor does Prall explain the basis for his present detention, which is unrelated to the Burlington City Municipal Court charge. Prall alleges that he has repeatedly written letters and filed applications with the municipal court but no action has been taken. He claims that he has no other available state court corrective process by which he can raise the issues in his petition. However, Prall has not identified the issues on which he relies to challenge his detention. Accordingly, Prall asks this Court to direct the Burlington City Municipal Court to hold a hearing on his "claims" or release Prall from custody.

Prall is not a stranger to this Court. Since his extradition from Connecticut to New Jersey in October 2008, Prall has filed ten (10) actions within the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, including this habeas petition.*fn1 This Court also takes judicial notice of a criminal complaint filed in this District Court on August 26, 2008, United States v. Prall, Mag. No. 08-M-1127 (JJH), stating that:

On or about September 26, 2007 in the District of New Jersey and elsewhere, the defendant, Tormu Prall, did knowingly and wilfully move and travel in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent to avoid prosecution under the laws of the place from which he fled, namely, New Jersey, for a crime which is a felony under the laws of that State, specifically, homicide, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(3). The criminal investigator with the United States Marshals Service filed the criminal complaint alleging that the above act by Prall was a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1073. The complaint was based on the following facts from the investigator's reports and involvement with this fugitive investigation, filed as Attachment B to the criminal complaint:

1. On or about September 25, 2007, John Prall was killed when he was burned during an arson which was committed at a residence in Mercer County, New Jersey.

2. On or about October 10, 2007, a criminal complaint was filed against defendant Tormu Prall in Mercer County Superior Court, charging him with the New Jersey state felony offense of homicide, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(3). Pursuant to that complaint, a warrant for the arrest of defendant Prall was issued.

3. Following the homicide referenced in Paragraph 1 above, the United States Marshals Service and the Trenton Police Department conducted numerous interviews of associates and family members of defendant Tormu Prall. This extensive investigation conducted by law enforcement authorities to locate Prall in the State of New Jersey has been met with negative results.

4. On May 17, 2008, Prall was arrested by local police in Boston, Massachusetts on charges of drinking in public. At the time of his arrest, Prall provided an alias name and identifiers. Prall was subsequently fingerprinted and released from custody under the alias name he provided. On May 19, 2008, the fingerprints left by Prall in Boston were analyzed against fingerprints on file in the FBI national fingerprint database for Prall revealing that he was in fact the same person arrested for drinking in public. Members of the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force responded to the Boston area to assist with the fugitive investigation on May 19, 2008. During the investigation in Boston, it was learned that Prall had committed another arson of an apartment building housing persons with physical and mental disabilities in the neighboring town of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

5. On August 2, 2008, Prall, again using an alias, was identified by local police in Providence, Rhode Island as a suspect in an assault and robbery occurring there. Warrants were subsequently issued for Prall's arrest by Providence Police on August 2, 2008.

6. On August 3, 2008, Prall was identified as a suspect regarding a vehicle theft from North Kingston, Rhode Island.

7. On August 6, 2008 Prall was identified as a suspect in a residential burglary which occurred in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. An arrest warrant charging Prall with burglary was subsequently issued by Morrisville Police on August 6, 2008. During the burglary in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, witnesses provided statements identifying Prall as carrying stolen items from a residence and loading the items into the vehicle which had been ...

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