PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO
CONSIDER A PETITION FOR ERROR CORAM NOBIS/AUDITA QUERELA
RELIEF [PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIFTH DIVISION, NO.
A. WOMACK, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE.
2003, a jury convicted Dednam of capital murder and he was
sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. We affirmed.
Dednam v. State, 360 Ark. 240, 200 S.W.3d 875
(2005). Pending before this court is petitioner Marrio
Dednam's pro se petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the
trial court to consider a petition for a writ of error coram
nobis. Dednam's claim for coram nobis relief is based on
an allegation that the prosecutor withheld material evidence
in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83
petition, Dednam alleges that the prosecution withheld
evidence that Willie Davis, Jr. and Antoine Baker pleaded
guilty to the murder for which Dednam had been convicted. In
support of this allegation, Dednam attaches to his petition a
transcript of Baker's guilty plea to multiple federal
crimes. A review of the plea transcript from the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas reveals that Baker pleaded guilty on October 15,
2009, to conspiring to kill the victim with the aid of Davis
and Dednam. Because Baker's guilty plea is inculpatory
with respect to Dednam rather than exculpatory and was
entered years after Dednam's conviction, Dednam has
failed to establish a basis for coram nobis relief.
Accordingly, we deny the petition to proceed in the trial
court with a coram nobis petition.
request for coram nobis relief, Dednam asserts that material
evidence was withheld by the prosecutor in violation of
Brady. There are three elements of a Brady
violation: (1) the evidence at issue must be favorable to the
accused, either because it is exculpatory or because it is
impeaching; (2) the evidence must have been suppressed by the
State, either willfully or inadvertently; (3) prejudice must
have ensued. Carner v. State, 2018 Ark. 20, 535
S.W.3d 634 (citing Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263
(1999)). When determining whether a Brady violation
has occurred, it must first be established by the petitioner
that the material was available to the State prior to trial
and that the defense did not have it. Carner, 2018
Ark. 20, 535 S.W.3d 634.
petition for leave to proceed in the trial court is necessary
because the trial court can entertain a petition for writ of
error coram nobis after a judgment has been affirmed on
appeal only after we grant permission. Roberts v.
State, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771. A writ of error
coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy. Id.
Coram nobis proceedings are attended by a strong presumption
that the judgment of conviction is valid. Id.;
Westerman v. State, 2015 Ark. 69, 456 S.W.3d 374.
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 trial
court and which, through no negligence or fault of the
defendant, was not brought forward before rendition of the
judgment. Roberts, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771. The
petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a fundamental
error of fact extrinsic to the record. Id.
writ is allowed only under compelling circumstances to
achieve justice and to address errors of the most fundamental
nature. Id. A writ of error coram nobis is available
for addressing certain errors that are found in one of four
categories: (1) insanity at the time of trial, (2) a coerced
guilty plea, (3) material evidence withheld by the
prosecutor, or (4) a third-party confession to the crime
during the time between conviction and appeal. Id.;
Howard v. State, 2012 Ark. 177, 403 S.W.3d 38.
evidence adduced at Dednam's trial established that
Dednam murdered the victim, Jerry Otis, at the behest of his
cousin, Baker. Baker had previously robbed Otis and was being
prosecuted for that offense, and Otis was the primary witness
for the prosecution. At Dednam's trial, the prosecution
established motive for the murder by introducing evidence
that, on the day Otis was murdered, Dednam had visited Baker
in the Pulaski County Jail. See Dednam, 360 Ark. at
242, 200 S.W.3d at 877. The transcript of Baker's 2009
guilty plea demonstrates that, among other things, Baker
pleaded guilty to instigating the murder by instructing
Dednam and Davis to kill Otis to prevent him from testifying
against Baker on the pending robbery charge as well as to
prevent Otis from implicating Baker in ongoing
drug-trafficking activities. The transcript attached to
Dednam's petition for coram nobis relief does not contain
facts that would have prevented the rendition of the guilty
verdict but rather confirms Dednam's guilt. Moreover,
Baker's plea occurred six years after Dednam was tried
for capital murder and cannot be said to be information known
but withheld at the time of Dednam's trial. In sum,
Dednam's petition is without merit.
Dednam did not provide any
evidence that Davis pleaded guilty to the ...