Coram Nobis

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Coram Nobis

[Latin, In our presence; before us.] The designation of a remedy for setting aside an erroneous judgment in a civil or criminal action that resulted from an error of fact in the proceeding.

In civil actions, a petition for a writ of coram nobis was addressed to the court in which the judgment was made, unlike an appeal, which is made to a superior court. The petition asserted that the court had made an erroneous judgment due to the defendant's excusable failure to make a valid defense as a result of Fraud, duress, or excusable neglect, such as illness. Coram nobis could not be used where a party caused an error because of Negligence.

The writ of coram nobis has been abolished in civil actions by the rules of federal Civil Procedure and similar provisions of state codes of civil procedure that, instead, establish different methods for setting aside judgments.

In Criminal Procedure, coram nobis serves the same purpose as it did in civil actions and is a recognized procedure in federal criminal prosecutions. Traditionally, it was available to direct the court's attention to information that did appear in the trial record and was not admitted into evidence because of fraud, duress, or excusable mistake. A defendant could not use coram nobis to relitigate the same charges if, through his or her own fault, such facts were not introduced as evidence.

Modern statutes have expanded the grounds for relief based upon the principles derived from the ancient writ of coram nobis. It is no longer a common-law remedy, but statutes provide for the vacation of a conviction and usually order a new trial if there is insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction, newly discovered evidence, erroneous instruction to the jury, or prejudicial comments or conduct by the prosecutor during the trial.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Defendant-appellant Ruben Delhorno filed a petition for a writ of coram nobis, a rare form of collateral attack on a criminal judgment.
The case recently decided by the 1st Circuit is Woodward's third collateral attack on his convictions and the second one using a writ of error coram nobis.
incarcerated formed three legal teams to file writs of error coram nobis
  Sentencing Error Coram Nobis Where a defendant challenged his sentence by filing a petition for a writ of error coram nobis since he was no longer in custody, the court finds that such a petition is subject to the restrictions on second or successive habeas corpus petitions, and dismissal of the petition is affirmed because the District Court properly found that there was no fundamental error, and the defendant failed to meet his burden to show that he was entitled to the extraordinary relief.
There are four main writ types: mandamus, prohibition, habeas corpus, and coram nobis.
In 2010 the Appellate Division, First Department granted D'Alessandro's application for a writ of error coram nobis. The judgment of conviction was vacated and the indictment dismissed.
Section 440.10(1)(b) of the New York Criminal Procedure Law is a partial codification of the writ of error coram nobis, (10) an ancient English common law doctrine that the New York Court of Appeals rejuvenated in 1943 in Matter of Lyons v.
Writs of coram nobis (Latin for "before us" (42)), sometimes called writs of error coram nobis, are an "ancient common-law remedy designed 'to correct errors of fact.'" (43) "In American jurisprudence the precise contours of coram nobis have not been 'well defined.'" (44) The writ is "generally sought to review a criminal conviction where a motion under 28 U.S.C.
With the new evidence and the work of the congressional commission as a backdrop, a federal court reviewed the case under a writ of coram nobis in 19 84.35 Under the writ, the court could only review errors of fact in the case, not legal errors.
(1) In certain narrow circumstances, the rare writ of error coram nobis is a remedial petition primarily available to criminal defendants who want to challenge their convictions.
(45) Irons has recounted that when he presented some of his evidence at a CWRIC hearing, one of the commissioners, Judge William Marutani, asked whether the wartime cases could be opened by use of a writ of coram nobis. Coram nobis--"the error before us"--is a little used writ from the English common law.