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Posted on October 6, 2014 at 11:04 AM

The legal mechanism that the Jahi McMath family is using to reopen the January 2014 judgment of death is with a writ of error coram nobis.

The function of this wit is to bring to the attention of a court errors of fact which could not have been discovered by the petitioner at an earlier date, and which if known to the court at the time would have prevented entry of the judgment.  People v. Cole, 152 Cal.App.2d 71, 312 P.2d 701 (1957).

This writ is a remedy of narrow scope.  But its basic purpose seems to be satisfied here.  That purpose is to secure relief, where no other remedy exists, from a judgment rendered.  The prerequisites are

  1. There existed some fact which would have prevented its rendition if the trial court had known it.
  2. That fact through no negligence or fault of the applicant, was not then known to the court.
  3. The applicant for the writ shows that the facts upon which he relies were not known to him and could not, in the exercise of due diligence, have been discovered by him at any time substantially earlier than the time of his motion for the writ.

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