APPEAL FROM THE JOHNSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO.
36CR-16-210] HONORABLE WILLIAM M. PEARSON, JUDGE
J. Love, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jason Michael Johnson,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RHONDAK.WOOD, Associate Justice
Jay Love appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of
error coram nobis. He primarily contends the circuit court
erred in determining that his allegation that his attorney
promised to help him get a pardon if he pleaded guilty was
insufficient to meet the burden of proving he was coerced.
Because we find the circuit court did not abuse its
discretion, we affirm.
pleaded guilty on September 1, 2017, to first-degree murder,
battery in the first degree, and aggravated assault, and was
sentenced by the circuit court on September 6, 2017, to an
aggregate sentence of 480 months' imprisonment in the
Arkansas Department of Correction. In exchange, for his
guilty plea, the state did not pursue the enhancement
provisions of Arkansas Code Annotated § 16-92-120 and
agreed to run his sentences concurrently. Love filed a
petition for writ of error coram nobis in the trial court
alleging that his guilty plea had been coerced and the
circuit court denied his petition. Love appealed.
appeal, this court's review is whether the circuit court
abused its discretion in denying the petition for writ of
error coram nobis. Nelson v. State, 2014 Ark. 91, at
4, 431 S.W.3d 852, 854. The presumption is that the judgment
of conviction is valid. Gray v. State, 2018 Ark. 79,
540 S.W.3d 658. Love's petition for writ contended his
guilty plea was coerced. A coerced guilty plea is one of the
grounds for granting an error coram nobis petition.
Nelson, 2014 Ark. 91, at 3, 431 S.W.3d at 854.
appeal, Love contests the trial court's findings that his
allegation of coercion did not rise to the "level of
coercion" that is required in the context of a writ of
coram nobis and if anything it was more akin to an
ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Factually, Love
argued that his attorney stated that the "best way to go
about this situation was to take the charge and get a
pardon." On appeal, Love argues that this is not a case
of "bad advice but of malicious intent[.]"
circuit court's order indicates, and the transcript of
Love's plea and sentencing hearings confirms, that Love
entered his plea and then five days later was sentenced. Love
acknowledged at sentencing that his guilty plea was
intelligently and voluntarily made and that he did not know
of any reason why his agreed-upon sentences should not have
court has held that, to rise to the level of coercion to
warrant issuance of the writ, allegations that a plea was
coerced must demonstrate the "compulsion of a free agent
by physical, moral, or economic force or threat of physical
force." Ramirez v. State, 2018 Ark. 32, at 4,
536 S.W.3d 614, 617. Love made no claim that he was innocent
or that his attorney coerced him through fear, threats of mob
violence, or that he was subject to duress-claims this court
has previously recognized. Nelson, 2014 Ark. 91, at
4, 431 S.W.3d at 855.
that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in
denying the writ of error coram nobis as Love did not plead
facts sufficient to show coercion. The circuit court is
correct that ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims are not
cognizable in error coram nobis proceedings. Green v.
State, 2016 Ark. 386, 502 S.W.3d 524.