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Name: United States v. Riedl
Case #: 06-10424
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/06/2007

Coram nobis relief is not available to a petitioner who fails to establish a legitimate reason to justify a delay in attacking a conviction.

Petitioner filed a writ of coram nobis attacking her money laundering conviction more than six years after she had been convicted. She attributed the delay in filing the writ to her five-year incarceration, her subsequent deportation, the forfeiture of some of her properties, and her diminished capacity. The Ninth Circuit reiterated that in Hirabayashi v. United States (9th Cir. 1997) 828 F.2d 591, it set forth factors which were predicates to coram nobis relief, one of which was that there must be valid reasons for not attacking the conviction earlier. Petitioner’s proffered reasons do not justify the delay. The court also rejected petitioner’s argument that coram nobis relief is available as long as it is not barred by laches. This argument “would transform the extraordinary writ of coram nobis into a free pass for attacking criminal judgments long after they have become final.” Rather, the defense of laches becomes available to the government only once petitioner has justified the delay in filing the writ.