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Johnson v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

April 16, 2015

KEDRON JOHNSON, PETITIONER
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, RESPONDENT

Counsel Amended May 15, 2015.

Page 791

SECOND PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS. PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO. 60CR-00-2710.

Kedron Johnson, Pro se petitioner.

Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass't Att'y Gen., for respondent.

WILLIAM PLUNKETT LUPPEN, ATTORNEY GENERAL.

OPINION

Page 792

PRO SE

PER CURIAM

In 2001, petitioner Kedron Johnson was found guilty by a jury of rape and sentenced to 300 months' imprisonment. The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed. Johnson v. State, 80 Ark.App. 79, 94 S.W.3d 344 (2002). In 2008, petitioner filed in this court a pro se petition seeking leave to proceed in the trial court with a petition for writ of error coram nobis.[1] We denied the petition. Johnson v. State, CR-01-1015, (Ark. Dec. 19, 2008) (unpublished per curiam).

On February 18, 2015, petitioner filed the petition, which is now before us in which he again asks to have jurisdiction reinvested in the trial court to consider a coram-nobis petition. After a judgment has been affirmed on appeal, a petition filed in this court for leave to proceed in the trial court is necessary because the circuit court can entertain a petition for writ of error coram nobis only after we grant permission. Dansby v. State, 343 Ark. 635, 37 S.W.3d 599 (2001) (per curiam). A writ of error coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy, more known for its denial than its approval. Cromeans v. State, 2013 Ark. 273 (per curiam). The writ is allowed only under compelling circumstances to achieve justice and to address errors of the most fundamental nature. McDaniels v. State, 2012 Ark. 465 (per curiam). We have held that a writ of error coram nobis is available to address certain errors that are found in one of four categories: insanity at the time of trial, a coerced guilty plea, material evidence withheld by the prosecutor, or a third-party confession to the crime during the time between conviction and appeal. Charland v. State, 2013 Ark. 452 (per curiam). The function of the writ is to secure relief from a judgment rendered while there existed some fact that would have prevented its rendition if it had been known to the circuit court and which, through no negligence or fault of the defendant, was not brought forward before rendition of judgment. Chestang v. State, 2014 Ark. 477 (per curiam). The petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a fundamental error of fact extrinsic to the record. Wright v. State, 2014 Ark. 25 (per curiam). Coram-nobis proceedings are attended by a strong presumption that the judgment of conviction is valid. Roberts v. State, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771.

In his petition, petitioner contends that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense in violation of

Page 793

Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). The evidence alleged to have been hidden was an audio recording of petitioner's interrogation ...


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