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Murtari Habeas Corpus Petition

John Murtari was able to complete this petition from jail. He sent it to his cousin (also named John Murtari --, for reproduction and delivery to the Federal District Court for Northern District of New York, located in Syracuse.  The petition consists of two parts:  the first part is a seven page questionnaire which contains background information and lists the grounds for granting the petition.  We have included the actual scanned pages below.   The next part is a memorandum.  It contains an additional written argument in support of the petition and is a good summary of the overall arguments involved.  We could use someone's help in retyping the seven scanned pages of the petition into plain text so that it can be posted more easily at the web site.  If you think you can help, please send E-Mail to, no knowledge of web page design is required. 

Current Status

8/14/2000 - Petition was accepted for filing by the Court Clerk,  Case Number 00-CV-1232 was assigned.  It was assigned to U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd and Magistrate Judge Gustave J. DiBianco.

In the U.S. Court System, a prisoner in State Custody may submit a petition to a U.S. Federal Court for "release" if they feel their Constitutional Rights were violated. A key condition is that the prisoner must exhaust all "state remedies" before bothering the Federal Court. This normally means either appealing the case to the State's highest Court, or having a very good reason why that wasn't done.

John's custody and support arrangement was set by a State Supreme Court Divorce Judgement. John did appeal that decision all the way to the State's highest Court. In New York, like most other states, custody & support orders cannot be changed by other Courts absent a "change in circumstance." The petition attempts to show that his imprisonment is a direct consequence of the conditions set forth for custody and support in the original order.

It is a long shot. The first "hurdle" will be to just get it past the clerk and assigned a case number.