ADAM DAVIS, JR. PETITIONER
STATE OF ARKANSAS RESPONDENT
FOURTH PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT
TO CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS, MOTION
TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF
COUNSEL, AND MOTION TO RESPOND TO STATE'S RESPONSE TO
PETITION TO PROCEED IN TRIAL COURT WITH CORAM NOBIS PETITION
[GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO. 26CR-07-365]
R. Baker, Associate Justice.
Adam Davis, Jr., brings a fourth petition to reinvest
jurisdiction in the trial court to file a petition for writ
of error curiam nobis in the trial court in his criminal
case. This court dismissed or denied his first three such
petitions. Davis v. State, 2017 Ark. 74, 511 S.W.3d
847 (per curiam); Davis v. State, 2016 Ark. 296, 498
S.W.3d 279 (per curiam); Davis v. State, 2016 Ark.
69 (per curiam). Additionally, Davis filed a motion to
proceed in forma pauperis, a motion for appointment of
counsel, and a motion that he be permitted to file a response
to the State's response to his petition in which he
argues that recent precedent supports his claims for relief.
petition, Davis contends that he was not competent to stand
trial; that the trial court did not meet its obligation under
Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 (1985), to provide him
with a mental-health expert to assist in his defense; that
the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83
(1963), by not disclosing all evidence favorable to the
defense; that the evidence was insufficient to establish that
he acted with deliberation and premeditation when he
committed the offenses of which he was convicted; and that
the trial court erred in declining a jury instruction
favorable to his claim of mental disease or defect and in
denying the jury access to significant information concerning
his mental state. We find that the allegations are largely a
repetition of claims already raised in his prior petitions,
and to the degree that Davis has enlarged on the claims, the
claims are without merit. For this reason, the petition is
dismissed as an abuse of the writ. Davis's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis, motion for appointment of counsel,
and motion to be permitted to file a response to the
State's response are moot.
Nature of the Writ
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. Newman v.
State, 2009 Ark. 539, 354 S.W.3d 61. A writ of error
coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy. State v.
Larimore, 341 Ark. 397, 17 S.W.3d 87 (2000). Coram nobis
proceedings are attended by a strong presumption that the
judgment of conviction is valid. Green v. State,
2016 Ark. 386, 502 S.W.3d 524; Westerman v. State,
2015 Ark. 69, 456 S.W.3d 374; Roberts v. State, 2013
Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771. 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. Newman, 2009 Ark.
539, 354 S.W.3d 61. The petitioner has the burden of
demonstrating a fundamental error of fact extrinsic to the
record. Roberts, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771. It is
the petitioner's burden to show that a writ of error
coram nobis is warranted. This burden is a heavy one because
a writ of error coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare
remedy. Jackson v. State, 2017 Ark. 195, 520 S.W.3d
Grounds for the Writ
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. Howard v.
State, 2012 Ark. 177, 403 S.W.3d 38. This court will
grant permission to proceed with a petition for the writ only
when it appears that, looking to the reasonableness of the
allegations of the proposed petition and the existence of the
probability of the truth of those allegations, the proposed
attack on the judgment is meritorious. Isom v.
State, 2015 Ark. 225, 462 S.W.3d 662.
2008, a jury found Davis guilty of capital murder, attempted
first-degree murder, and two counts of use of a firearm in
the commission of a felony. Consecutive sentences of life
imprisonment without parole and a total of 720 months'
imprisonment were imposed. We affirmed. Davis v.
State, 2009 Ark. 478, 348 S.W.3d 553.
Repetition of Claims for the Writ
grounds raised by Davis in this fourth petition are issues
already raised in his three prior petitions for writ of error
coram nobis. Reassertion of the same claims without
sufficient facts to distinguish the claims from those raised
in a previous coram nobis petition is an abuse of the writ
and subjects the petition to dismissal. Jackson,
2017 Ark. 195, 520 S.W.3d 242; see also United States v.
Camacho-Bordes, 94 F.3d 1168 (8th Cir. 1996) (holding
that res judicata did not apply to bar a second petition for
writ of error coram nobis, but abuse-of-writ doctrine was
applied to subsume res judicata). Due process does not
require this court to entertain an unlimited number of
petitions to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to
consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis in a
particular case. This court has the discretion to determine
whether the renewal of a petitioner's application for the
writ will be permitted to go forward even if there are
additional facts in support of repetitive grounds.
Chatmon v. State, 2017 Ark. 229.
first petition, Davis argued that the trial court made
several errors in its rulings and that he was denied due
process because the court did not allow into evidence all the
evidence he desired to bring forth to the jury. The same
allegation is raised again in this fourth petition with the
addition of new claims of trial error, but a claim of trial
error is not a ground for the writ. By its very nature, a
question concerning a trial court's ruling could have
been settled in the trial court and on the record on direct
appeal. Accordingly, the allegation that the trial court made
some mistake in its rulings, including rulings concerning the
admissibility of evidence, is not within the purview of a
coram nobis proceeding. Mason v. State, 2014 Ark.
288, 436 S.W.3d 469. The writ will not lie to retry the
defendant or to reexamine the strength of the evidence
adduced at trial. Carner v. State, 2018 Ark. 20, 535
respect to Davis's assertion that he was incompetent,
which appears to encompass his mental state both at the time
of the offenses and at the time of trial, the claims are
essentially the same as those raised in his earlier
petitions. Merely restating an allegation raised in a prior
coram nobis petition does not automatically provide grounds
for a successive petition for the writ. Chatmon,
2017 Ark. 229. Davis has expanded on the claim of
incompetence by contending that he should have been provided
with a mental-health expert to assist the defense under
Ake and other cases and that his mental evaluation
should have been conducted at the Arkansas State Hospital
rather than at another facility. These additional allegations
do not constitute a showing of ...