PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO
CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS OR,
ALTERNATIVELY, TO RECALL THE MANDATE OR FOR OTHER RELIEF AND
AMENDMENT TO PETITION, [PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH
DIVISION, NO. 60CR-94-1368].
A. WOMACK, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Muta' Ali Trujah Muhammad, also known as Anthony Key,
asks this court to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court
to consider his petition for writ of error coram nobis.
Alternatively, he seeks to recall this court's mandate
affirming his conviction for capital murder and his sentence
of life imprisonment without parole. See Key v.
State, 325 Ark. 73, 923 S.W.2d 865 (1996).
Muhammad's petition is premised on allegedly improper
statements made by the prosecution during trial. In an
amendment to his petition, he claims his sentence is illegal
because he was eighteen years old when he committed the
crime. He sets out no basis that would support issuance of
the writ or a recall of the mandate, and we therefore deny
the petition and the amendment.
1995, a jury convicted Muhammad of capital murder for the
death of Lisa Williams. Muhammad has never disputed killing
Williams but maintains he did not act with premeditation.
Muhammad shot and killed Williams following an argument she
had with his sister. He fired five rounds from a sawed-off
12-gauge shotgun towards Williams's trailer while she and
her husband were inside. The first round hit the trailer next
door and a second round hit the couple's car. Three final
shots were fired into the trailer, including the fatal shot
that hit Williams while she was standing at a window. We
found that sufficient evidence supported Muhammad's
capital murder conviction and affirmed the conviction on
direct appeal. Id.
of error coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy.
Howard v. State, 2012 Ark. 177, 403 S.W.3d 38. Coram
nobis proceedings are attended by a strong presumption that
the judgment of conviction is valid. Id. The
function of the writ is to secure relief from a judgment
rendered while there existed some fact that would have
prevented its rendition had it 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.
Id. The petitioner has the burden of showing a
fundamental error of fact extrinsic to the record.
writ is available to address certain errors found in one of
four categories: 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. Id. Where the writ is sought
after the judgment has been affirmed on appeal, the circuit
court may entertain the petition only after this court grants
permission. Roberts v. State, 2013 Ark. 56, 425
S.W.3d 771. This court will grant such permission only when
it appears the proposed attack on the judgment is
petition is premised on allegedly improper statements made by
the prosecution during his 1995 trial. He first contends the
prosecution elicited inadmissible testimony from him about a
prior arrest. But, he failed to object to that questioning
during trial. 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,
544 S.W.3d 49. Moreover, Muhammad's assertion that this
court was obligated to correct the alleged error during his
direct appeal under Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-3(i) (2017)
misconstrues the extent of that review. Under Rule 4-3(i), we
review the record for all objections, motions, and requests
that were decided adversely to a defendant appealing a life
sentence. This review presupposes that a proper objection was
made at trial so that the trial court may first consider the
alleged error. Perry v. State, 2014 Ark. 535, 453
second proposed ground for the writ, Muhammad claims the
prosecution made false and misleading statements during
closing by stating that the victim had been shot while
looking out the window. His claim is premised on allegations
of insufficient evidence to support his conviction.
Challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence constitute a
direct attack on the judgment and are not cognizable in coram
nobis proceedings. Grady v. State, 2017 Ark. 245,
525 S.W.3d 1. In any event, we considered and rejected this
challenge during Muhammad's direct appeal. See
Key, 325 Ark. 73, 923 S.W.2d 865.
amendment to his petition, Muhammad alleges his sentence of
life imprisonment without parole violates the Eighth
Amendment under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460
(2012). In Miller, the United States Supreme Court
held that mandatory life sentences without parole for those
under the age of eighteen at the time of their crimes
violates the Eighth Amendment. Id. at 470. He
contends Miller should be expanded to encompass
offenders who, like him, were eighteen years old at the time
of their crime. Coram nobis is not the proper remedy to
challenge an allegedly illegal sentence. See Bunch v.
State, 2018 Ark. 379, at 6, 563 S.W.3d 552, 556. Given
that Muhammad has alternative avenues to pursue his illegal
sentence claim, we will not consider this claim now.
has failed to establish an error of fact extrinsic to the
record that could not have been raised in the trial court.
Martinez-Marmol, 2018 Ark. 145, 544 S.W.3d 49. The
factual allegations giving rise to Muhammad's claims were
not hidden or unknown at the time of the trial and could have
been brought to the circuit court's attention before
rendition of the judgment. Indeed, Muhammad cites to the
trial transcript in support of his allegations. His request
for this court to reinvest jurisdiction in the circuit court
so that he may pursue a petition for a writ of error coram
nobis is accordingly denied.
likewise deny Muhammad's alternative request to recall
the mandate. We will recall the mandate only in the most
extraordinary circumstances. Ward v. State, 2018
Ark. 59, 539 S.W.3d 546. To establish the extraordinary
circumstances required, we consider: (1) the presence of a
defect in the appellate process, (2) whether federal court
proceedings have been dismissed because of an unexhausted
state court claim, and (3) whether this is a death penalty
case requiring heightened scrutiny. Davis v. State,
2018 Ark. 69, 539 S.W.3d 565. A defect in the appellate
process is an error alleged to have been made by this court
while reviewing a case where the death sentence was imposed.
Id. Such an error is distinguished from one that
should have been raised to the trial court or one within our