APPEAL FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO.
72CR-06-1873], HONORABLE MARK LINDSAY, JUDGE
French, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Christian Harris, Asst Atty Gen.,
F. Wynne, Associate Justice
Appellant Tracy French appeals an order entered by the trial
court on December 14, 2018, dismissing an in forma pauperis
petition to proceed with a pro se petition for a writ of
error coram nobis and a motion for appointment of counsel on
the basis that French failed to state a colorable cause of
action. French argued that the writ should issue and the
judgment be vacated in his criminal case because he was
coerced into pleading guilty due to inadequate advice
regarding an available sentencing option when he entered his
guilty plea and that material evidence was withheld by the
State in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.
83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). As French has
failed to demonstrate that the trial court abused
its discretion in declining to grant the relief sought, the
order is affirmed.
2006, French entered a negotiated plea of guilty to raping
his daughter on multiple occasions, and a sentence of 360
months imprisonment was imposed. In 2017, French filed in
the trial court the three pleadings referenced above, all
relating to his request for a writ of error coram nobis. As
stated, the court dismissed the pleadings for failure to
state a colorable claim for the issuance of a writ of error
coram nobis. A colorable cause of action is a claim that is
legitimate and may reasonably be asserted given the facts
presented and the current law or a reasonable and logical
extension or modification of it. Morgan v. Kelley,
2019 Ark. 189, 575 S.W.3d 108.
Standard of Review
standard of review of a decision to grant or deny a petition
to proceed in forma pauperis is abuse of discretion, and the
circuit courts factual findings in support of its exercise
of discretion will not be reversed unless clearly erroneous.
Id. An abuse of discretion occurs when the court
acts arbitrarily or groundlessly. Nelson v. State,
2014 Ark. 91, 431 S.W.3d 852. The same standard of review is
applicable to coram nobis petitions, and 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 Remedy
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 ...