In re Application of Tommie H. Telfair

Decision Date15 October 2010
Docket NumberIndex No. 10–2958 (GEB).
Citation745 F.Supp.2d 536
PartiesIn re Application of Tommie H. TELFAIR, also known as Hassan Gatling, Petitioner.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of New Jersey


Tommie H. Telfair, S. Kearny, NJ, pro se.Catrina R. Gatling, pro se.


BROWN, Chief Judge:

Ultimately, this matter comes before the Court upon Petitioner Tommie H. Telfair's (“Telfair”) submission of two filings, see Docket Entries Nos. 5 and 6, which Petitioner qualified, jointly, as his motion for reconsideration (“Motion”) of the Court's prior decision entered in the instant matter. For the reasons detailed below, Telfair's present motion will be granted in form.1 However, the Court's prior disposition of Telfair's claims will not change. Additionally, also for the reasons detailed below, a limited order of preclusion will be entered with regard to all prospective pro se filings executed by Telfair in this District, in the currently pending, closed and future matters.

A meaningful discussion of the issues at hand is not feasible without a careful examination of Petitioners' (that is, Telfair and Catrina R. Gatling's) 2 prior actions in this District. This chain of prior actions will be subdivided into two groups: (a) the criminal matter being prosecuted against Gatling; and (b) the actions initiated against or by Telfair (that group, in turn, is comprised of two distinct categories, i.e.: (1) the matters initiated in connection with Telfair's currently ongoing criminal prosecution; and (2) the civil actions initiated by Telfair seemingly in response to his—and, perhaps, Gatling's—prosecution).

I. TELFAIR'S PRIOR ACTIONSA. Telfair's Criminal Prosecution

It appears that the relevant events began to unfold about half a decade ago when,

[o]n ... September 5, 2006, officers of the Newark Police Department were dispatched to a residence at 185 Parker Street, Newark, New Jersey, to investigate a report of gunfire. Upon arriving at the scene, officers were met by two occupants of the residence who stated that they had heard gunshots fired at the backdoor of the home. Law enforcement officers investigated the rear entrance to the home and discovered several bullet holes in the back door and empty shell casings nearby. After entering the residence with the apparent consent of the two occupants, law enforcement officers observed bullet holes in the front of a refrigerator in the kitchen. An officer then examined and opened the refrigerator, finding a projectile in the bottom of the refrigerator. While searching for other projectiles and evidence of the shooting, the officer discovered in plain view clear plastic containers holding a substance resembling cocaine base. The officers subsequently discovered an additional substance that field tested positive for the presence of heroin, as well as several small bags containing quantities of heroin. On the following day, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (the “DEA”) interviewed the two occupants, who stated that the heroin discovered in the residence belonged to an individual named Hassan Gatling,” an apparent alias for [Telfair]. The two occupants stated that they packaged certain quantities of heroin discovered at the residence at the direction of [Telfair] for the purpose of distribution. The two occupants further stated that they had received payment, in the form of cash and goods, from Defendant for preparing and packaging the heroin for distribution. A complaint and an arrest warrant were allegedly issued for [Telfair] on or about September 8, 2006. On January 23, 2007, [Telfair] was arrested at the home of his girlfriend, [who was] Gatling.... During a post-arrest interview with law enforcement, [Telfair] apparently admitted that he had engaged in criminal conduct and narcotics trafficking with several individuals on numerous occasions in the State of New Jersey and elsewhere. After extensive questioning, [Telfair] requested to speak with [an] attorney [Telfair knew], Paul Bergrin. Law enforcement officers allegedly complied with [Telfair's] request and ceased questioning him. After a brief continuance following [Telfair's] arrest, a one-count criminal indictment was filed on March 29, 2007 charging [him] with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin .... A superseding indictment was filed on May 7, 2007[,] ... charging [him] with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin .... [That] superseding indictment was dismissed without prejudice [and Telfair] was arraigned on a [new superseding] two-count indictment ... charging conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin ... and distribution and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.

USA v. Telfair ( “Telfair–DMC” ), 08–cr–0757 (DMC), Docket Entry No. 14 (slip opinion, hereinafter DMC” ), at 2–4.

Telfair's subsequent criminal proceedings were conducted in this District and presided over by the Honorable Dennis M. Cavanaugh (“Judge Cavanaugh”). Telfair proved to be a prolific pro se litigant. For instance, during the short (two-month) period from the time of his second re-indictment to Judge Cavanaugh's entry of the DMC decision, Telfair:

made roughly ten separate pro se filings ... contain[ing] multiple and repetitive requests. From these filings, [Judge Cavanaugh] identified ten substantive motions upon which it appear[ed] that [Telfair was] seek[ing] relief, including: a motion to dismiss the second superseding indictment; a motion to be released on bail; a motion to suppress statements made and evidence seized; a motion for production of Jencks materials; a motion for production of Rule 404(b) evidence; a motion for production of exculpatory and impeachment materials; a motion requesting that the Government preserve notes of government agents; a motion for a polygraph test; and a motion for a change of venue [—these motions were made even though] many of these exact motions and arguments were [already] considered and decided by [Judge Cavanaugh] in a hearing on April 7, 2008[,] and a related Order issued on May 20, 2008 ....

DMC, at 4–5 and n. 2 (the language of footnote 2 is incorporated, in part, in the main text).

Addressing all Telfair's motions anew, Judge Cavanaugh denied the bulk of these motions, while granting—in full—Telfair's applications for production of Rule 404(b) evidence and preservation of notes of government agents, and also granting—in part—his motions for polygraph test and for production of exculpatory and impeachment materials. See id. at 15. Judge Cavanaugh's order and accompanying DMC opinion to that effect were entered on December 10, 2008. See Telfair–DMC, Docket Entries 14 and 15.

While only three weeks passed since the entry of the DMC opinion and accompanying order, during that time Telfair flooded Judge Cavanaugh's chambers with new applications and caused Judge Cavanaugh to hold a conference with regard to then-existing state of affairs in Telfair's criminal proceedings. See Telfair–DMC, Docket Entry No. 19. Upon finding Telfair's new submissions frivolous, Judge Cavanaugh entered an order dated January 9, 2010, directing the Clerk to refuse acceptance of any pro se motion from Telfair until further notice. See Docket Entry No. 16. However, as the discussion below illustrates, Judge Cavanaugh's order had no apparent effect on Telfair's prolific pro se filings.

It appears that, at that juncture, Telfair was represented by a certain Mr. Kimball (a Criminal Justice Act panel attorney who, apparently, being duly appointed by Judge Cavanaugh, replaced Bergrin upon Telfair's request for termination of Bergrin's representation): the record in Telfair–DMC reflects Telfair's pro se submission made with regard to Kimball, Telfair–DMC, Docket Entry No. 17; that submission was filed less than a week after Judge Cavanaugh's directive barring Telfair's pro se filings. See id. The submission made with regard to Kimball read, in its entirety, as follows:

Dear Mr. Kimball,

I hope that by now you have come to understand that I don't plan to quit fighting, even if that means firing you. My life, and the life of my family, is all that matters to me, not your job not the D.A. just me and my family. So I'm kindly warning you, to do what needs to be done so that all these violations of law(s) can and will be addressed, rather by way of my present appeal, or by starting to actually put up a fight in my case. Listen, I am far from stupid, I now know what my past present counsel was/is suppose to have done, and what now needs to be done. For example: the word, supersede simply means, to make void, or repeal by taking the place of. Now what is bothering me is that you have allowed this error in facts and/or errors in laws to go uncontested, as it pertains to my now newly 2–count indictment which is a serious double jeopardy violation, and is the reckless act of multiplicity in the first instance. But of cores [sic] you already know that, the attempted innocent misrepresentation is costing my legal process to endure way to much judicial abuse. So I will keep this easily to the point, pursuant to[ ] rule 18 U.S.C.A. 30064 3006A, you really need to get my forensic specialist, and my investigator, and get me that polygraph test and the polygraph test specialist, I want to see the documentations/credentials of all parties being requested, and for the record I know that the federal government has the money, and is obligated to provide every aspect of effective representation, even if it is not you per se. In closing, I hope we have a proper understanding counselor, I'll see you on or about the week of January 16th, 2009!

Respectfully Submitted,

Mr. Tommie H Telfair

Pro-se Litigant

Cc File:

Tommie H Telfair

Clerk of the Courts

Honorable Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh

Murray & Kimball's Law Offices

Clerks of the Appeals Court

Telfair–DMC, Docket Entry No....

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