CHARLES E. ALEXANDER PETITIONER
STATE OF ARKANSAS RESPONDENT
PETITION, AMENDED PETITION, AND SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH
AMENDED PETITIONS TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT
TO CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS AND
AUDITA QUERELA; AND PRO SE MOTION TO SHOW CAUSE [PULASKI
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION, NO. 60CR-97-1450]
JOSEPHINE LINKER HART, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE.
Charles E. Alexander filed in this court a petition in which
he requests that we reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court
so that he may file a petition for writ of error coram nobis
and audita querela. Alexander also filed four amendments to
the petition and a motion in which he requested that the
original petition, which Alexander submitted with additional
copies, be filed with only one copy of one of the exhibits
attached to the original pleading. Because the original
petition was filed as Alexander requests, the motion is moot.
Because Alexander fails to set out a basis in the original
petition or in his amended petitions that would support
issuance of the writ, we deny the petition and the amended
was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in
prison without possibility of parole. This court affirmed.
Alexander v. State, 335 Ark. 131, 983 S.W.2d 110
(1998). The instant petition is necessary for Alexander to
proceed because a 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. Jackson v.
State, 2018 Ark. 227, 549 S.W.3d 356.
all due respect to Alexander, much of what he has filed in
this matter is simply indecipherable. Alexander's
original 149-page, handwritten petition is often confusing,
extremely difficult to read, and at times incomprehensible.
The bulk of the petition is devoted to exhibits that
Alexander intended to support his claims for relief, although
the relevance of those exhibits, much of which relate to
prison grievances Alexander has filed since he was
incarcerated, is oftentimes unclear. Alexander lists his
grounds for issuance of the writ, asserting (1) that a
violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963),
resulted from the prosecutor's withholding information
about confessions or statements that someone else had
committed the murder; (2) that the trial court erred in not
trying Alexander jointly with a codefendant; (3) that there
were defects in the criminal information, warrant, or
detainer; and (4) that a miscarriage of justice has resulted
because he is actually innocent. In another portion of the
petition, Alexander lists eleven additional items that he
contends were "exculpatory (evidence) withheld by the
prosecutor at trial." Interwoven with these claims are
less-clear references to complaints involving Alexander's
request that he be paroled, a masonic affiliation, his
representation in separate proceedings for relief before the
United States Supreme Court, and grievances about the
confiscation of documents by the Arkansas Department of
the 173-page first amended petition that Alexander filed is
also often illegible, it appears to readopt all claims from
the original petition. It is far less clear what new claims,
if any, Alexander asserts, although ineffective assistance of
counsel and diplomatic immunity are referenced. In the first
amended petition, Alexander asserts that the
"record" in the matter needs to be supplemented
with newly discovered evidence, which he appears to contend
would be available in proceedings in the trial court, and
that this court should permit that court to have a hearing
and make findings of fact. Alexander also appears to assert
that this court must review the sufficiency of the evidence
to sustain the judgment of conviction in these proceedings.
274-page second amendment, 9-page third amendment, and 2-page
fourth amendment, which appears to have been intended to
clarify the second amendment, are again extremely difficult
to decipher, and aside from the titles of the documents, none
bears a clear relationship to the original error coram nobis
petition. Instead, the second amendment appears to reference
unrelated federal proceedings and civil complaints about the
conditions of Alexander's incarceration and transfer to
another facility. He requests a change of venue to
Washington, D.C., calls for the governor to convene a special
session on juvenile-sentencing guidelines, references various
current and former state and federal judges and officials
with no clear connection to the matter, and seeks permission
for a secret masonic wedding with a state senator. As in his
previous petitions, he describes what he portrays as a
masonic ritual with hand gestures accompanied by a distress
signal in Morse code, which is signaled through a blinking
eye, in a ceremony that he believes should serve to rebuke
Satan and cause this court to grant him relief.
third and fourth amendments are also extremely difficult to
understand. Although parts are legible, the third amendment
demonstrates no relationship to the coram nobis proceedings.
There is a request for transfer to a different ADC facility,
vague complaints about the handling of mail and documents,
unclear references to an act of congress, bankruptcy, and a
civil case, along with the same consistent reference to the
blinking-eye signal. There is nothing that would appear to
further Alexander's previous claims or add new ones. The
fourth amendment is almost entirely, aside from the cover
page identifying its purpose, unintelligible. It again
references federal proceedings and people unconnected to
either Alexander's trial or the charges, and it requests
a number of forms of relief that simply are not available in
error coram nobis proceedings.
of audita querela is indistinguishable from a writ of error
coram nobis, and this court treats a request for permission
to pursue audita querela relief as a petition to reinvest
jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a writ of error
coram nobis. Munnerlyn v. State, 2018 Ark. 161, 545
S.W.3d 207. Our standard of review for granting permission to
reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to pursue a writ of
error coram nobis requires that this court grant permission
for a petitioner to proceed only when it appears the proposed
attack on the judgment is meritorious. Howard v.
State, 2012 Ark. 177, 403 S.W.3d 38. 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. Id. A court is not
required to accept the allegations in a petition for writ of
error coram nobis at face value. Wooten v. State,
2018 Ark. 198, 547 S.W.3d 683. No hearing in the trial court
is required if the proposed petition clearly has no merit
because it fails to state a cause of action to support
issuance of the writ. See Ramirez v. State, 2018
Ark. 32, 536 S.W.3d 614.
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. Jackson, 2018 Ark. 227, 549 S.W.3d 356.
Coram nobis proceedings are attended by a strong presumption
that the judgment of conviction is valid. Mosley v.
State, 2018 Ark. 152, 544 S.W.3d 55.
writ is allowed under compelling circumstances to achieve
justice and to address errors of the most fundamental nature.
Wooten, 2018 Ark. 198, 547 S.W.3d 683. 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. Id. The writ is only granted 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).
A writ of error coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy
in which the petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a
fundamental error of fact extrinsic to the record.
Jackson, 2018 Ark. 227, 549 S.W.3d 356. Alexander
has not met that burden.
the exception of the alleged Brady claims, none of
Alexander's proposed grounds for the writ are cognizable
in proceedings for the writ or fall within one of the
recognized categories of error to support the writ. A claim
of actual innocence is a direct attack on the judgment that
is not cognizable in proceedings for a writ of error coram
nobis. Ramirez, 2018 Ark. 32, 536 S.W.3d 614. Any
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence also constitutes
a direct attack on the judgment and is not cognizable in a
coram nobis proceeding. Mosley, 2018 Ark. 152, 544
claims concerning defects in the proceedings that should have
been raised during the proceedings-including any claim of
immunity or of defects in joinder or the charging
instruments-are likewise not cognizable because assertions of
trial error that could have been raised at trial are not
within the purview of a coram nobis proceeding. Carner v.
State, 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 action does not provide the
petitioner with a means to retry his or her case.
Id. Claims that Alexander's counsel was
ineffective are also not grounds for the writ.
Wooten, 2018 Ark. 198, 547 S.W.3d 683.
noted, material evidence withheld by the prosecutor is one of
the recognized categories of error that may support issuance
of the writ. The mere fact that a petitioner alleges a
Brady violation, however, is not sufficient to
provide a basis for error coram nobis relief. Wallace v.
State, 2018 Ark. 164, 545 S.W.3d 767. To establish a
Brady violation, three elements are required: (1)
the evidence at issue must be favorable to the accused,
either because it is exculpatory or because it is impeaching;
(2) that evidence must have been suppressed by the State,
either willfully or inadvertently; (3) prejudice must have
ensued. Id. The ...