DAVID HUGH JONES, JR. PETITIONER
STATE OF ARKANSAS RESPONDENT
PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO
CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS [PULASKI
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION, NO. 60CR-08-2603]
COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
David Hugh Jones, Jr., who was convicted of first-degree
murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm and who
was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of forty years'
imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC),
brings this petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial
court to consider a petition for writ of error coram
nobis. He contends that the
judgment-and-commitment order is silent as to whether he
should serve 100 percent of his sentence and asserts a myriad
of claims that trial counsel should have performed his duties
better during trial to obtain a different outcome. Because
Jones has failed to demonstrate in the petition that the writ
should issue, the petition is denied.
trial court cannot entertain a petition for writ of error
coram nobis after a judgment has been affirmed on appeal
unless this court grants permission. Carner v.
State, 2018 Ark. 20, 535 S.W.3d 634. A writ of error
coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy.
Martinez-Marmol v. State, 2018 Ark. 145, 544 S.W.3d
49. 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. 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 that, through no negligence or fault of the
defendant, was not brought forward before rendition of the
judgment. Carner, 2018 Ark. 20, 535 S.W.3d 634. The
petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a fundamental
error of fact extrinsic to the record. Roberts v.
State, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771.
writ is allowed 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.
Martinez-Marmol, 2018 Ark. 145, 544 S.W.3d 49. A
court is not required to accept the allegations in a petition
for writ of error coram nobis at face value. Jackson v.
State, 2017 Ark. 195, 520 S.W.3d 242.
fails to demonstrate he may be entitled to relief. Jones
contends that he was "prejudicially given 100%" of
his sentence to serve, which is "not marked on the
petitioner's judgment[-]and[-]commitment order." He
further contends that the judgment-and-commitment order is
silent as to whether he was sentenced as a habitual offender
and that the ADC has "taken it upon themselves to
require the petitioner to serve 100% (percent) of his
time[.]" Jones also argues that his counsel acted as
"more of prosecutor and persecutor"; counsel did
not raise the defense of use of physical or deadly force of
himself, property, or a third party; and Jones suffered
because counsel allowed the case to be tainted by the
prosecutor's disregard of Jones having been "forced
to protect his sister[.]" None of these claims are
cognizable in a coram nobis proceeding because none of the
claims allege 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.
facts concerning any applicable sentencing statutes or
Jones's claims regarding the percentage of his sentence
to be served do not demonstrate some fundamental error of
fact extrinsic to the record for which coram nobis relief
would be applicable. See Green, 2016 Ark 386, 502
S.W.3d 524; Roberts, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d
To the extent that Jones has argued that his counsel was
ineffective, those claims are not cognizable in a coram nobis
proceeding under our state law. Coram nobis proceedings are
not to be used as a substitute for raising claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel under our postconviction
rule, Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1.
Martinez-Marmol, 2018 Ark. 145, 544 S.W.3d 49.
Regarding Jones's claims that could arguably be construed
as trial error-his trial was tainted-assertions of trial
error that were raised at trial, or which could have been
raised at trial, are also not within the purview of coram
nobis proceedings. Carner, 2018 Ark. 20, 535 S.W.3d
634. Such claims are not within the scope of the limited
grounds on which the writ may issue, and a coram nobis
proceeding does not provide the petitioner with a means to
retry his or her case. Id.
Jones's conviction and sentence
were affirmed by the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Jones v.
State, 2011 Ark.App. 92.
If Jones was attempting to argue a
reduction in his sentence, coram nobis simply does not apply
because the only remedy available if coram nobis relief is
granted is a new trial. Whitney v. State, 2018 Ark.
138, at 1. ("The term 'writ of error coram
nobis' has been recognized in our common law for all
motions for new trial ...