Writ of Error Coram Nobis

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The writ of error coram nobis (translated from Latin as "the error before us") is writ issued by a court to reverse error in the interest of justice. At commmon law, the writ of error coram nobis was taken from the judgment of the King's Bench and asked that the court review its own judgment, alleging errors of fact.

Although rarely granted, a writ of coram nobis is still available. [1]

One recent example of the writ of coram nobis occurred in 1984 when Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted the writ and revversed the conviction of Korematsu. She conclunded that the government knowingly introduced false evidence to the Supreme Court, materially effecting the Court's decision.[2]

Patel stated:

A writ of coram nobis is an appropriate remedy by which the court can correct errors in criminal convictions where other remedies are not available. Although Rule 60(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., abolishes various common law writs, including the writ of coram nobis in civil cases, the writ still obtains in criminal proceedings where other relief is wanting. United States v. Morgan, 346 U.S. 502, 74 S.Ct. 247, 98 L.Ed. 248 (1954)

The writ of coram nobis is similar to the writ of habeas corpus, except that it is applicable even when the defendant is no longer in custody.


  1. Bonadonna v. Unknown Defendant, 181 Fed. Appx. 819 (C.A. 11 (Ga.) 2006)
  2. Korematsu v. U.S., 584 F.Supp. 1406, 16 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1231 (N.D.Cal. Apr 19, 1984)