SHAWN T. RAINER PETITIONER
STATE OF ARKANSAS RESPONDENT
PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO
CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS; MOTION FOR
RULE 55 DEFAULT [MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT,
CHICKASAWBA DISTRICT, NO. 47BCR-09-193]
Stanley Law Firm, by: Bill Stanley, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Nicana C. Sherman, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. WYNNE, Associate Justice
Shawn Trevell Rainer is incarcerated serving a term of 960
months' imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of
Correction for his conviction of second-degree murder. The
Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction in
Rainer v. State, 2012 Ark.App. 588, and Rainer filed
the instant petition in which he seeks permission from this
court to proceed in the trial court with a petition for writ
of error coram nobis.Rainer alleges that trial error resulted in
the imposition of an illegal sentence, but because a petition
for the writ is not the means for addressing the issue, we
deny his petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial
court. Rainer later filed a motion for default judgment under
Rule 55 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure (2018),
which we also deny.
petition, Rainer alleges that he was initially charged with
first-degree murder as a "small habitual offender."
The information in the record on appeal sets out the charge,
in addition to first-degree murder, that Rainer was a
habitual offender and had been convicted of two previous
felonies, one of which was a 1998 conviction for
second-degree murder. The judgment of conviction that Rainer
would challenge reflects that he was convicted of
second-degree murder and sentenced to 960 months'
imprisonment, with the judgment noting an enhancement imposed
under Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-4-501(a). Rainer
asserts that during the sentencing phase, the jury was
incorrectly instructed to consider his punishment with a
"serious violent offender" enhancement under
Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-4-501(c) (Supp. 2007),
without objection from defense counsel. Rainer made similar
allegations in his petition under Arkansas Rule of Criminal
Procedure 37.1 (2017) without obtaining a ruling on the
issue. See State v. Rainer, 2014 Ark. 306, 440
S.W.3d 315 (reversing the grant of postconviction relief on a
different claim). In the petition before us, Rainer alleges
that the enhancement on the judgment is facially invalid, and
he contends that it was trial error to permit the harsher
enhancement to be imposed.
standard of review for granting permission to reinvest
jurisdiction in the circuit court to pursue a writ of error
coram nobis requires that this court grant permission for a
petitioner to proceed only when it appears that the proposed
attack on the judgment is meritorious. Howard v.
State, 2012 Ark. 177, at 4-5, 403 S.W.3d 38, 43. In
making such a determination, we must look to the
reasonableness of the allegations of the petition and to the
existence of the probability of the truth thereof.
of error coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy, and
proceedings for the writ are attended by a strong presumption
that the judgment of conviction is valid. Jackson v.
State, 2018 Ark. 227, at 2, 549 S.W.3d at 358. 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. Id. The petitioner has the burden of
demonstrating a fundamental error of fact extrinsic to the
record. Id. The writ is granted only to correct some
error of fact, and it does not lie to correct trial error or
to contradict any fact already adjudicated. Smith v.
State, 200 Ark. 767, 140 S.W.2d 675 (1940).
claims that Rainer would raise in an error coram nobis
petition are founded on his allegations that the information
was not properly amended and that the sentence on the
judgment was therefore invalid, which are not errors
extrinsic to the record. Assertions of trial error that could
have been raised at trial are not within the purview of a
coram nobis proceeding. Martinez-Marmol v. State,
2018 Ark. 145, at 4, 544 S.W.3d 49, 53. Rainer alleges his
attorney failed to challenge the amendment of the
information. Claims that counsel was ineffective are also not
grounds for the writ. Wooten v. State, 2018 Ark.
198, at 3, 547 S.W.3d 683, 685.
extent that Rainer appears to contend that he could only be
sentenced under Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-4-501(a),
he is mistaken. As the State notes in its response, the
subsection's notation on the judgment appears to be a
scrivener's error because the jury, as Rainer admits, was
instructed under subsection (c) of the statute, and
Rainer's two previous convictions described in the
information charging him as a habitual offender do not fall
within the parameters of subsection (a) because one of those
previous convictions was for second-degree murder.
frames the issue as one of an illegal sentence. This court
views an issue of a void or illegal sentence as being an
issue of subject-matter jurisdiction that can be addressed at
any time. Richie v. State, 2009 Ark. 602, at 4, 357
S.W.3d 909, 912. An illegal sentence is one that is illegal
on its face. Jackson v. State, 2018 Ark. 209, at 4,
549 S.W.3d 346, 348. A sentence is illegal on its face when
it is void because it is beyond the trial court's
authority to impose and gives rise to a question of
subject-matter jurisdiction. Id.
section 5-4-501(c), Rainer was subject to being sentenced to
imprisonment for a term of not less than forty years nor more
than eighty years, or life. Rainer's sentence-960
months' imprisonment, or imprisonment for eighty
years-falls within that range. Although Rainer alleges his
sentence is illegal and that he was convicted of an offense
for which he was not charged, the factual basis for these
claims is insufficient to go beyond allegations of a
defective information and trial error stemming from
insufficient notice for an "amendment" of the
information. General defective-information allegations do not
implicate the facial validity of a trial court's judgment
or jurisdiction. Anderson v. Kelley, 2018 Ark. 222,
at 3, 549 S.W.3d 913, 915. As noted, the information included
a habitual-offender allegation with a description of the two
previous convictions that included one for second-degree
murder, which brought the charge within the parameters of
section 5-4-501(c). Rainer's allegations-that the
specific language used was insufficient to provide notice of
that charge and distinguish the enhancement from one under
subsection (a) of the statute-did not therefore raise a
jurisdictional issue concerning the judgment.