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Name: People v. Kim
Case #: S153183
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/16/2009

A writ of coram nobis is not an appropriate remedy where there was no unknown mistake in fact to prevent the rendition of the judgment. Kim was a legal resident but not a citizen of the United States when he suffered multiple criminal convictions. The federal government sought to deport him based on the convictions, and Kim petitioned for a writ of error coram nobis, seeking to vacate the convictions which triggered the deportation proceedings based on his unawareness of the immigration consequences of his plea. The California Supreme Court granted review to address whether persons in similar situations are entitled to have their guilty pleas vacated by a writ of error coram nobis. The Court held that Kim was ineligible for a writ of error coram nobis under these circumstances. Kim was put on notice of the possible immigration consequences pertaining to the plea agreement. His claim amounted to a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, which was not grounds for relief by way of writ of coram nobis. The writ of error coram nobis is available when a fact in existence is unknown to the trial court which would have prevented rendition of judgment had the court been aware of its existence. Here, Kim’s contention was not a basic flaw which would have prevented rendition of the judgment.