Riley v. State

433 So. 2d 976 (Fla. 1983)



A petition for a writ of error coram nobis addressed to the appellate court must disclose fully the alleged facts relied on; mere conclusory statements are insufficient. The appellate court must be afforded a full opportunity to evaluate the alleged facts for itself and to determine whether they establish prima facie grounds. Furthermore, the petition should assert the evidence upon which the alleged facts can be proved and the source of such evidence. The function of a writ of error coram nobis is to correct errors of fact, not errors of law. The facts upon which the petition is based must have been unknown by the trial court, by the party, or by counsel at the time of trial, and it must appear that defendant or his counsel could not have known them they the use of diligence. The petition must allege facts of such a vital nature that had they been known to the trial court, they conclusively would have prevented entry of judgment.


A man was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. After two sentencing hearings which both resulted in the imposition of the death penalty, he filed a motion for post conviction relief. The trial court denied his motions. Thus, he sought review and filed a motion to vacate his judgment and sentence as well as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, and a petition for leave to file a writ of error coram nobis alleging newly discovered evidence.


Did the trial court err in its denial of the defendants motions?




The court held that the trial court did not err in denying appellant's motion to vacate without an evidentiary hearing because appellant's motion for post-conviction relief and the record clearly demonstrated that he was not entitled to relief. The court denied appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus because appellant failed to show that his appellate counsel had been ineffective or that any prejudice had occurred. The court denied permission to file for a writ of error coram nobis because even if appellant's alleged newly discovered evidence had been presented at trial, the state's evidence would still have been sufficient to support the jury's verdict. The court also denied the motion for a stay of execution.

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