FRED L. WILLIAMS PETITIONER
STATE OF ARKANSAS RESPONDENT
SECOND PETITION AND AMENDED PETITIONS TO REINVEST
JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO CONSIDER A PETITION FOR
WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS [DREW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO.
JOSEPHINE LINKER HART, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Fred L. Williams brings this petition and amended petitions
to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court so that he may
proceed with a petition for writ of error coram nobis in his
criminal case. It is the second such petition filed by
Williams. The first petition was brought before this court in
2017 and denied. Williams v. State, 2017 Ark. 145,
516 S.W.3d 722 (per curiam).
petition and amended petitions now before us, Williams argues
that the writ should issue because there were flaws in his
trial and in his direct appeal, including prosecutorial
misconduct, trial error, due-process violations, and
appellate counsel's failure to raise all pertinent issues
on direct appeal. Because none of Williams's claims are
based upon information outside of the record or otherwise
unknown to petitioner, error coram nobis is not available to
address his claims, and we accordingly deny the petition.
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. 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 v. State, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 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.
2014, Williams was found guilty of first-degree murder and
abuse of a corpse for which he was sentenced as a habitual
offender to an aggregate term of life imprisonment. Williams
also entered a plea of guilty in 2014 to the offense of felon
in possession of a firearm and later filed a coram nobis
petition in the trial court in the case. In the petition, he
raised allegations that overlapped significantly with claims
pertaining to his conviction by a jury of murder in the first
degree and abuse of a corpse. Williams appealed the denial of
his petition, and this court affirmed the trial court's
order. Williams v. State, 2017 Ark. 313, 530 S.W.3d
contends that a writ of coram nobis should issue because the
prosecutor bolstered the evidence in his remarks in favor of
the State, insinuated that Williams had engaged in conduct
that was not established by the evidence, made false and
contradictory statements, assassinated Williams's
character to inflame the jury's passion and prejudice,
suggested to the jury that he (the prosecutor) was more
credible than Williams, implied that Williams had stolen the
victim's property, and made improper statements in the
State's closing arguments. Williams argues that the
prosecutor's conduct, when viewed cumulatively, denied
him a fair trial.
court has held that allegations of prosecutorial misconduct
that could have been raised at trial fail as a ground for the
writ. See Howard, 2012 Ark. 177, 403 S.W.3d 38
(noting that a writ of error coram nobis is only appropriate
when an issue was not addressed or could not have been
addressed at trial because it was somehow hidden or unknown).
A coram nobis action does not ...