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Thomas v. State

December 9, 2009

JAMES BRENT THOMAS, SR., PETITIONER,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Noel L. Hillman, U.S.D.J.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

IT APPEARING THAT:

1. On June 8, 2009, Petitioner, who was then confined at Cumberland County Jail in Brideton, New Jersey, executed a § 2254 petition (using a 1985 version form) challenging an order entered on or before May 13, 2009, in the Lawrance Township Municipal Court, Cedarville, New Jersey, and imposing an "indeterminate" sentence for contempt. (Docket entry #1 at p. 1.) The Petition indicates that Petitioner appealed to the Appellate Court which denied relief on May 8, 2009. The Petition presents one ground:

Ground One: EXCUSABLE NEGLECT, INADVERTENCE.

Supporting Facts: The Municipal Court Judge, David Krell, after receiving defendant's motion for vacation of contempt order and letter brief in support thereof (see Exhibit "D"), denied defendant's request, when it was clear on its face that he had been lawfully excused from appearing until he had received a court order as directed from the federal court.

(Docket entry #1 at p. 4.)

2. Attached to the Petition is a handwritten document entitled "EMERGENT EX PARTE MOTION FOR RELEASE OF STATE PRISONER PENDING REVIEW OF DECISION ORDERING RELEASE PURSUANT TO RULE 23 USC § 814(b) and (c)." In this document, Petitioner seeks an order releasing him from detention pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure on the grounds that equity and justice require this defendant be release[d] to prepare and participate in an effective way, in his hearing for judicial relief in this and any other matter currently before this Honorable Court.

Unless this motion is granted, defendant will suffer immediate and irreparable loss, damage or injury as a result of the action of the plaintiff by taking him to trial on June 10, 2009, on the charges complained of; and will effectively deny defendant access to the court, whereby the court can rectify a manifest injustice.

(Docket entry #1-1 at pp. 1-2.)

3. Petitioner submitted the aforesaid Petition and motion to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Clerk of that Court docketed the Petition and Motion on June 25, 2009, in In re: James Brent Thomas, Sr., C.A. No. 09-2771 (3d Cir. filed June 25, 2009). On the same day, the Clerk entered an order transferring the Petition to this Court pursuant to Fed. R. App. 22(a).

4. The Clerk of this Court filed the Petition on June 29, 2009.

5. On July 7, 2009, mail sent by the Clerk of this Court to Petitioner at Cumberland County Jail, the address he provided on his submissions, was returned as undeliverable. (Docket entry #2.)

6. On July 8, 2009, the Clerk received a letter from Petitioner dated July 6, 2009.*fn1

(Docket entry #3.) Petitioner states that he seeks release pending review of the Petition because "equity and justice require judicial intervention to prevent or rectify this manifest injustice from being imputed upon this movant." (Id. at p. 1.) Petitioner explains that on December 19, 2008, he was arrested and charged with a series of indictable offenses, he was arraigned on February 23, 2009, he was subsequently released, and he was arrested again on June 11, 2009. "As of this date the defendant has served (25) twenty-five days in the Atlantic County Jail without the benefit of bail." (Id. at p. 2.) Petitioner argues that "the N.J. Superior Court has failed to follow its own procedural safeguards by affording the defendant the constitutional benefit of bail in the first instance . . . . [W]ithout federal intervention to ensure that the state's action is aligned with the federal constitution, this and all defendants in N.J. may find themselves subject to punishment, without their right, privilege and guarantee to procedural and substantive due process." (Id. at p. 3.) Petitioner asks this Court to release him on his own recognizance. (Id.) Attached to this letter is a copy of a New Jersey Superior Court order for bench warrant and bail forfeiture in State v. Thomas, Ind/Acc/CO 09-01-00147-B order (N.J. Super. Ct., Law Div., Atlantic Vicinage, Feb. 23, 2009). The order specifies that Petitioner was ...


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