PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO
CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS [PULASKI
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION, NO. 60CR-15-469]
Lamont Jones, pro se petitioner.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Sr. Ass't
Att'y Gen., for respondent.
F. WYNNE, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Tyrun Lamont Jones was found guilty by a jury of
second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a
firearm for which he was sentenced to an aggregate sentence
of 300 months' imprisonment with a firearm enhancement of
180 months' imprisonment. The Arkansas Court of Appeals
affirmed. Jones v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 286, 524
S.W.3d 1. Jones now brings this pro se petition to reinvest
jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for
writ of error coram nobis in which he contends that the trial
judge was biased and that newly discovered evidence indicates
he is actually innocent. Because we find that Jones's
claims do not establish a ground for the writ, the petition
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
771. We are 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. The
burden is on the petitioner in the application for coram
nobis relief to make a full disclosure of specific facts
relied upon and not to merely state conclusions as to the
nature of such facts. Rayford v. State, 2018 Ark.
183, 546 S.W.3d 475. A coram nobis action does not provide
the petitioner with a means to retry his or her case.
Martinez-Marmol v. State, 2018 Ark. 145, 544 S.W.3d
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.
first contends that the trial judge was biased because
"by his own admission [he met] with the victim's
father[, ] Michael Booker[, ] . . . (a lawyer) in his
chambers . . . [and] stated that Mr. Booker came from
'his part of the country.'" Jones fails to
demonstrate that he is entitled to coram nobis relief. While
a claim of judicial bias may be recognized as a ground for
relief in coram nobis proceedings, the petitioner must
demonstrate actual bias and that the judge's bias
manifested in a manner that was hidden and could not have
been challenged at the time of trial. See
Martinez-Marmol, 2018 Ark. 145, 544 S.W.3d 49; see
also Brown v. State, 2012 Ark. 399, 424 S.W.3d 288.
Jones makes no claim that any rulings were adverse and merely
contends that the judge should have recused or disqualified
himself under Rule 2.11 of the Arkansas Code of Judicial
Conduct because he spoke with the victim's father, an
attorney. Jones's claim is not extrinsic to the record
and does not demonstrate any actual bias. On the record, it
was clear that the judge spoke with the victim's father,
who was not a trial witness, and that counsel for Jones
indicated that they were familiar with the victim's
father and that the victim's parents could remain in the
courtroom during the trial. Jones's claim here is nothing
more than a claim of trial court error, which is not
cognizable in a coram nobis proceeding. Carner v.
State, 2018 Ark. 20, 535 S.W.3d 634. Assertions of trial
error that were raised at trial, or which could have been
raised at trial, are not within the purview of a coram nobis
second claim, Jones contends that he is actually innocent
based on newly discovered evidence. Specifically, Jones
contends that he has affidavits that clarify that "Lil
O" or "Little O," who is referenced throughout
the investigation, and "Little Q," who was
referenced in a police report, are not the same person, which
proves his innocence. Here, Jones's allegation fails to
state a claim for coram nobis relief. Jones's claim of
actual innocence does not fall within one of the four
categories recognized for coram nobis relief.
Howard, 2012 Ark. 177, 403 S.W.3d 38. Furthermore,
the existence of Williams, known as "Little O", is
not extrinsic to the record because Jones testified that
Williams was with him at Shorter Gardens, where the offense
was committed. Roberts, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d
771. Moreover, Jones's claim that this purported newly
discovered evidence proves his actual innocence is no more
than a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence adduced
at trial. An attack on the sufficiency of the evidence
constitutes a direct attack on the judgment and is not within
the purview of a coram nobis proceeding. Grady v.
State, 2017 Ark. 245, 525 S.W.3d 1. Allegations that the
evidence presented at trial was not sufficient to support a
finding of the defendant's guilt are issues to be
addressed at trial and, when appropriate, on the record on
direct appeal. Jackson, 2017 Ark. 195, 520 S.W.3d
One affidavit provided by Jones is from
Oliver Williams, who identifies himself as "Little
O," and states that he was with Jones, and although he
did not know or remember who shot the victim, he was sure
that Jones did not shoot the victim. The second affidavit
from Bracon Reed states that Jones did not shoot the victim
and also fails to state who did shoot the victim. Jones also
attached a supplemental narrative from the North Little Rock
Police Department to his petition that is not a part of ...