[Latin, In our presence; before us.] The designation of a remedy for setting aside an erroneous judgment in a civil or criminal action that resulted from an error of fact in the proceeding.
In civil actions, a petition for a writ of coram nobis was addressed to the court in which the judgment was made, unlike an appeal, which is made to a superior court. The petition asserted that the court had made an erroneous judgment due to the defendant's excusable failure to make a valid defense as a result of fraud, duress, or excusable neglect, such as illness. Coram nobis could not be used where a party caused an error because of negligence.
The writ of coram nobis has been abolished in civil actions by the rules of federal civil procedure and similar provisions of state codes of civil procedure that, instead, establish different methods for setting aside judgments.
In criminal procedure, coram nobis serves the same purpose as it did in civil actions and is a recognized procedure in federal criminal prosecutions. Traditionally, it was available to direct the court's attention to information that did appear in the trial record and was not admitted into evidence because of fraud, duress, or excusable mistake. A defendant could not use coram nobis to relitigate the same charges if, through his or her own fault, such facts were not introduced as evidence.
Modern statutes have expanded the grounds for relief based upon the principles derived from the ancient writ of coram nobis. It is no longer a common-law remedy, but statutes provide for the vacation of a conviction and usually order a new trial if there is insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction, newly discovered evidence, erroneous instruction to the jury, or prejudicial comments or conduct by the prosecutor during the trial.
"Coram Nobis." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/coram-nobis
"Coram Nobis." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved January 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/coram-nobis
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.