Federal Procedure – Availability of Coram Nobis in Federal Cases Involving Right of Counsel

ln 1939 Robert Morgan pleaded guilty to a charge of mail theft and was sentenced by a federal district court to four years imprisonment. He served the term and was released. In 1950 he was convicted of a crime in New York state and sentenced as a second offender because of his previous federal conviction. In 1952 he made application to the district court of original sentence for a common law writ of coram nobis, seeking an order vacating and setting aside his conviction by that court on the ground that he was not given assistance of counsel and had not waived his constitutional right to such assistance. His motion was denied. Reversed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and remanded for hearing. On certiorari to the Supreme Court, held, Morgan was entitled to show by a motion in the nature of a writ of error coram nobis that the federal conviction and sentence should be set aside. United States v. Morgan, 346 U.S. 502, 74 S.Ct. 247 (1954).