A Writ of Coram Nobis, sometimes referred to as a Writ of Coram Vobis, is a challenge to a court's final judgment. It is a post-conviction request to a court to vacate a conviction because new facts have become available. The Writ of Coram Nobis is not an appeal, as the request for review in a Coram Nobis is directed to the court where the defendant was convicted, not an appellate court. The Writ of Coram Vobis is filed in the appellate court. The Coram Nobis is similar in scope to a Motion to Vacate Judgment.
In California, a Writ of Coram Nobis is a challenge to a criminal conviction and is only available if the petitioner (defendant) can establish the following three elements:
- that some fact existed which, without a petitioner's fault or negligence, was not presented to the court at the trial or during a plea, and which would have prevented the rendition of the judgment;
- that the new evidence does not go to the merits of the issues of fact determined at trial; and
- that the petitioner did not know nor could he or she have, with due diligence, discovered the facts upon which he or she relies any sooner than the point at which he petitions for the Writ.
The ultimate question faced by the judge hearing a Coram Nobis is whether the interests of justice would be promoted by granting the Writ. A Writ of Coram Nobis is considered a long shot and rarely granted in California. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about Coram Nobis and all your available legal options.