EDDIE L. PUGH APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
APPEAL FROM THE POINSETT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO.
56CR-16-273] HONORABLE DAN RITCHEY, JUDGE
L. Pugh, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Joseph Karl Luebke, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
A. WOMACK, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Eddie L. Pugh brings this appeal from the denial and
dismissal by the circuit court of his pro se petition for
writ of error coram nobis and his pro se motion to correct a
mistake in the sentencing order. In his brief, Pugh refers to
his claim that there was a mistake in the sentencing order,
but he does not include the motion in the addendum to his
brief. Accordingly, we address this appeal solely as an
appeal from the decision of the circuit court to decline to
issue the writ. As Pugh has failed to demonstrate that the
circuit court abused its discretion in declining to issue the
writ, the order is affirmed.
entered a plea of guilty in 2016 to second-degree murder and
was sentenced to 240 months' imprisonment. Imposition of
an additional sentence of 120 months' imprisonment was
suspended. In 2018, Pugh filed in the trial court both the
motion to correct the sentencing order and the coram nobis
petition. The motion and petition were denied and dismissed
in one order entered September 14, 2018. As stated, Pugh
contends on appeal that the trial court was wrong not to
issue the writ.
Standard of Review
standard of review of an order entered by the trial court on
a petition for writ of error coram nobis is whether the trial
court abused its discretion in granting or denying the writ.
Newman v. State, 2014 Ark. 7. An abuse of
discretion occurs when the court acts arbitrarily or
groundlessly. Nelson v. State, 2014 Ark. 91, 431
S.W.3d 852. There is no abuse of discretion in the
denial of error coram nobis relief when the claims in the
petition were groundless. Osburn v. State, 2018 Ark.
341, 560 S.W.3d 774.
Nature of the Writ
of error coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy.
State v. Larimore, 341 Ark. 397, 17 S.W.3d 87
(2000). 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. Newman v. State, 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.
writ is allowed only under compelling circumstances to
achieve justice and to address errors of the most fundamental
nature. Dednam v. State, 2019 Ark. 8, 564 S.W.3d
259. A writ of error coram nobis is available to address
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. Error coram nobis proceedings are
attended by a "strong presumption" that the
judgment of conviction is valid. Nelson, 2014 Ark.
91, at 3, 431 S.W.3d at 854.
Fraud or Mistake
first argues that issuance of the writ was warranted because
his attorney induced him to plead guilty by practicing
"fraud or mistake" in that counsel advised him to
answer the trial court questions at his plea hearing in the
affirmative or run the risk of the plea not being accepted.
He contends that he was further informed by counsel that if
the plea was not ...