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Jones v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

November 21, 2019

Charles Edward JONES, Petitioner
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Respondent

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          PRO SE PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE CIRCUIT COURT TO CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS AND PRO SE MOTIONS TO SHOW CAUSE AND FOR STATUS AND DETERMINATION [PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION, NO. 60CR-08-1753]

          Charles E. Jones, pro se petitioner.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Jason Michael Johnson, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for respondent.

          OPINION

         KAREN R. BAKER, Associate Justice

          Petitioner Charles Edward Jones has filed a petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the circuit court to consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis in which he alleges that there was exculpatory information that was unknown and not addressed at trial. Jones subsequently filed a motion "to show cause for coram nobis" in which he asserts additional bases for the writ. Jones also filed a motion for status and determination in which he requested that he be given either prompt attention to the matter or a status report. Because Jones provides no meritorious basis for issuance of the writ, we deny the petition. The motion to show cause is treated as a motion to supplement the petition to reinvest jurisdiction and denied. The motion for status is moot.

         A jury convicted Jones of four counts of rape, and he was sentenced to four consecutive terms of 480 months’ imprisonment. His convictions and sentences were affirmed by the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Jones v. State, 2010 Ark.App. 324, 2010 WL 1509491.

          Before this court is Jones’s petition in which he requests permission to proceed in the trial court with a petition for a writ of error coram nobis to challenge the judgment in that case. The 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. Roberts v. State, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771. A writ of error coram nobis is an extraordinarily rare remedy. Id. Coram nobis proceedings are attended by a strong presumption that the judgment of

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conviction is valid. Id. ; Westerman v. State, 2015 Ark. 69, 456 S.W.3d 374. 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 which, through no negligence or fault of the defendant, was not brought forward before rendition of the judgment. Roberts, 2013 Ark. 56, 425 S.W.3d 771. The petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a fundamental error of fact extrinsic to the record. Id.

          The 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. Id. ; Howard v. State, 2012 Ark. 177, 403 S.W.3d 38.

          This court will grant permission to proceed with a petition for the writ only when it appears that, looking to the reasonableness of the allegations in the petition and the probability of the truth of those allegations, the proposed attack on the judgment is meritorious. Jones v. State,2017 Ark. 334, 531 S.W.3d 384. This court is not required to accept at face value the allegations in the petition. Id. The burden is on the petitioner in the application for coram nobis relief to make a full disclosure of ...


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