Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Coram nobis is without doubt an extraordinary remedy and one that has limited application. That said, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted such a petition in the case of United States v. Lynch and Campenella. The court found that "where an indictment fails to allege any criminal conduct, a petitioner is excused from the showing of actual innocence."
The smoking gun in this case came from the government when "during both change-of-plea hearings the Government corrected the Court by clarifying that the crime at issue was an undisclosed conflict of interest, rather than bribery." Further the court notes that "[a]t no point during the change-of-plea hearings or in its guilty plea memoranda did the Government mention a quid pro quo bribery theory."
Enter the Supreme Court's opinion in Skilling and without the bribery, there is problem in the case. Lynch gets a grant of the petition for coram nobis and Campenella a 2255 motion to vacate the conviction and sentence.
The bottom line - if you have no crime, relief needs to be granted.
Court's Opinion - Download Opinion granting coram nobis
Addendum - See also Joseph Tanfani, Philly.com, Fraud convictions overturned for Philly assessor and developer