United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
R. Aframe, Esq., Jonathan Cohen, Esq., Paul F.
O’Reilly, Esq., Jacob Max Weintraub, Esq.
DiClerico, Jr. United States District Judge
Williams filed a petition for a writ of coram nobis, seeking
relief from his conviction in 2004 on a charge of making a
false statement on an application for a passport. In support
of his petition, Williams alleged that his counsel provided
ineffective assistance by changing Williams’s plea
without his consent and by misrepresenting and failing to
advise Williams of the immigration consequences of the plea.
Williams’s second claim, based on the immigration
consequences of his guilty plea, was dismissed in response to
the government’s previous motion to dismiss. The
government now moves to dismiss the first claim, that counsel
changed Williams’s plea without his consent, and
nobis is an extraordinary remedy, which is available
‘only under circumstances compelling such action to
achieve justice.’” Murray v. United
States, 704 F.3d 23, 28 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting
United States v. Morgan, 346 U.S. 502, 511 (1954)).
To show that he is eligible for a writ of coram nobis,
“the petitioner must first adequately explain his
failure to seek relief earlier through other means; second,
he must show that he continues to suffer a significant
collateral consequence from the judgment being challenged and
that issuance of the writ will eliminate the consequence; and
third, he must demonstrate that the judgment resulted from a
fundamental error.” Murray, 704 F.3d at 29
(internal footnotes omitted). “Even if the petition
meets all three of the conditions in the coram nobis
eligibility test, the court retains discretion to grant or
deny the writ, depending on the circumstances of the
individual case.” Id. 29-30.
was born in Nigeria and entered the United States on a visa
in 1992. He has lived in the United States since that time.
In March of 1996, he married Nadine Williams, who was born in
Jamaica. The Williamses have three children who were all born
in the United States.
was indicted on a charge of passport fraud in February of
2004 based on a misrepresentation of his citizenship in his
passport application. See United States v. Williams,
04-cr-51-JD (D.N.H. February 19, 2004). During the change of
plea hearing in that case held on July 29, 2004, the court
acknowledged that the First Circuit had recently changed the
law with respect to venue for cases charging passport fraud
and that the case should not have been brought in the
District of New Hampshire. The court asked Williams if, in
light of the change in the law, he freely and voluntarily
waived his right to be tried in one of the Districts in New
York rather than the District of New Hampshire.
response to the court’s question, Williams consulted
with his attorney, Richard Monteith. After discussing the
issue with Williams outside the courtroom, Monteith reported
to the court that Williams “would like to withdraw that
waiver and not go through with this proceeding today.”
Transcript, doc. no. 31, at 9. The court asked if Williams
wanted the case dismissed, and Monteith responded, “He
does, Judge.” Id. Monteith moved to dismiss
response, Assistant United States Attorney Rubega asked the
court to delay ruling on the motion to dismiss to give the
government time to file a superseding indictment to charge
Williams with making a false statement in a passport
application in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. After a
discussion about whether a superseding indictment or a new
indictment would be necessary to bring the charge under
§ 1001, Monteith said: “Time is important to Mr.
Williams regarding immigration, what’s going to happen
with that, so I suppose we don’t have an objection to a
superseding indictment.” Id. at 12. Monteith
also noted that a superseding indictment, as opposed to a new
indictment, would avoid having Williams arrested on the new
court agreed to stay any ruling on Williams’s motion to
dismiss to allow time for the government to file a
superseding indictment. The government filed a superseding
indictment on August 5, 2004, charging Williams with making a
false statement on a passport application in violation of
pleaded guilty to the charge of making a false statement on
October 14, 2004. During the hearing, Williams admitted the
factual allegations read by the court to support the charge
against him. Rubega then read the facts the government would
prove if the case went to trial. Monteith did not object to
the facts as read, and Williams also accepted the facts as
read by Rubega.
asked by the court if he had any questions about the
proceedings, Williams said that he had no objection but noted
that “the Immigration matter is pending.”
Monteith explained that Williams had immigration hearings
pending in New York. Williams agreed that the New York
hearings were the immigration matter to which he referred.
The court then accepted Wiliams’s plea. Williams was
sentenced on January 14, 2005, to three years of probation.
wife became a United States citizen in 2010. When Williams
applied for lawful permanent resident status based on his
marriage to a citizen, his application was denied based on
the facts underlying Williams’s guilty plea in 2004,
which included a false claim of United States ...