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Maryland Coram Nobis

The writ of coram nobis rests in an obscure corner of Maryland law. However, it has become extremely relevant for immigrants and for individuals facing federal sentencing.

If you have been convicted of a crime, and you have completed your sentence, coram nobis may be the only way to vacate your conviction. In the immigration context, this may be necessary if your conviction has immigration consequences that could cause you to be removed from the country (check with an immigration attorney to be sure). In federal court, a prior conviction can lead to a much longer federal sentence, particularly if the prior conviction contributes to a classification as a Career Offender or an Armed Career Criminal.

A successful coram nobis petition usually requires 1) recovering the transcript of your previous conviction, and 2) finding a constitutional deficiency therein. After filing a petition, it may be necessary to argue the motion in court.

In Maryland, there area of law is constantly changing.  Within the past few years, for example, there was a change that allows petitioners to proceed with coram nobis even if they never raised the issue on appeal.  This opens the possibility of relief for those who had petitioned and were previously denied.

Brown & Nieto has had success with coram nobis petitions. In a recent victory in Baltimore City Circuit Court, we obtained coram nobis relief for a defendant who was facing a mandatory 15-year federal sentence as an Armed Career Criminal. The Circuit Court Judge ruled that a 10-year-old conviction should be vacated because the defendant was not properly advised about the nature of the offense to which he was pleading guilty. See State v. Jones, Case No. 299148035. As a result of this win, the client may no longer be sentenced in federal court as an Armed Career Criminal.

In another victory, State v. Carbonell-Desliz, the Firm vacated a Baltimore City conviction that caused our client to have an open removal order against him. It was also preventing him from leaving the country to visit his family in Cuba. We won by obtaining an old court document that showed that our client had not properly been informed of his right to counsel when he appeared before a district court judge ten years ago.

Due to the complexity of this evolving area of law, a coram nobis petition should be handled only by attorneys with experience.  Please contact the experienced attorneys of Brown & Nieto for a consultation.