(109) A writ of coram nobis is a procedural mechanism to
Pennsylvania, for example, does not allow a writ of coram nobis to
Decades later, the convictions of Gordon Hirabyashi and Fred Korematsu were overturned in proceedings seeking a writ of coram nobis
. See Hirabayashi v.
LAW [section] 440.10, (McKinney 2005) ("In 1943 the Court of Appeals resurrected the ancient writ of coram nobis by which a person convicted of an offense could petition the trial court to exercise its inherent power to set aside the judgment of conviction on the basis of facts not disclosed prior to judgment due to duress, fraud or excusable mistake; which, had they been disclosed to the court, would have prevented entry of the judgment.").
While this language could be read to suggest that the writ of coram nobis, and its statutory descendant in section 440.10(1)(b) of the New York Criminal Procedure Law, is especially appropriate for claims of actual innocence, nothing in Goldstein limits the remedy to such cases.
Usually, a writ of coram nobis
is used to attack a judgment that was infirm at the time it issued, for reasons that later came to light.
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.
The 1984 decision that overturned the conviction was based on a writ of coram nobis. (57) The writ allows the reviewing court to correct errors of fact, but nothing more.
(59) A writ of coram nobis
(60) does not substitute for an appeal.
(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.
The United States inherited these writs, and while many have been abolished or have become unnecessary, such as the writ of coram nobis
, which has been replaced by the right to file a motion for relief under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.540, certain writs remain powerful tools for obtaining review.
Sammy Joseph Hadaway appeals the order denying his petition for a writ of coram nobis
seeking to withdraw his plea.