United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
REBECCA RUTHERFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
George Chima filed a pro se petition for a writ of
coram nobis challenging his 2012 tax fraud
conviction. The district court referred the resulting civil
action to the United States magistrate judge, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference. For
the following reasons, the petition should be denied.
is a citizen of Nigeria. On April 2, 2010, he filed an
application for naturalization in which he stated orally and
in writing that he had never committed a crime or offense for
which he had not been arrested. See United States v.
Chima, No. 3:16-cv-387-L (N.D. Tex.) (ECF No. 13 at 2).
Petitioner knew this information was false because he had
assisted in preparing fraudulent tax returns in 2008 and
2009. Id. Petitioner was approved for
naturalization, and on July 13, 2010, he became a naturalized
United States citizen. Id.
November 20, 2012, Petitioner was charged with aiding and
assisting in a fraudulent income tax return, in violation of
26 U.S.C. § 7206(2). Petitioner pleaded guilty and
admitted he prepared, or assisted in preparing, approximately
505 fraudulent federal income tax returns for the 2008 and
2009 tax years. See United States v. Chima, No.
3:12-cr-383-D (N.D. Tex.) (ECF No. 4 at 4-5). On April 19,
2013, the district court sentenced him to 30 months in prison
and ordered him to pay $776, 341 in restitution. On August 7,
2015, Petitioner was released from prison and began serving
one year of supervised release. (ECF 32 at 4.)
February 11, 2016, the government filed a complaint to revoke
Petitioner's naturalization. See United States v.
Chima, No. 3:16-cv-387-L (N.D. Tex.) On June 23, 2016,
Petitioner filed a joint motion for consent judgment
admitting he committed tax fraud and willfully concealed his
criminal activity when he applied for naturalization and
agreeing to his denaturalization. On June 23, 2016, the
district court entered judgment denaturalizing Petitioner.
August 3, 2016, the government charged Petitioner as
removable and served him at his home with a notice to appear.
Chima v. Sessions, No. 17-60409 (5th Cir. 2018)
(Resp.'s Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. A.) On April 27, 2017, the
Board of Immigration Appeals issued a final order of removal.
(ECF No. 32 at 3.) Petitioner appealed, and on June 21, 2018,
the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal.
Chima v. Sessions, No. 17-60409 (5th Cir. 2018).
October 19, 2017, Petitioner filed his coram nobis
petition, in which argues he received ineffective assistance
of counsel when his criminal trial counsel advised him to
plead guilty to the tax fraud charges and informed him that
his conviction would not subject him to removal from the
was removed to Nigeria on or about October 25, 2017. (ECF No.
32 at 4 n.2).
is seeking a writ of coram nobis. “The writ of
coram nobis is an extraordinary remedy available to
a petitioner no longer in custody who seeks to vacate a
criminal conviction in circumstances where the petitioner can
demonstrate civil disabilities as a consequence of the
conviction.” United States v. Esogbue, 357
F.3d 532, 534 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting Jimenez v.
Trominski, 91 F.3d 767, 768 (5th Cir. 1996)). Here,
Petitioner has served his sentence, he has been removed from
the United States, and he is unable to travel to the United
States because of his conviction. Thus, he satisfies the first
two elements for coram nobis relief. See United
States v. Castro, 26 F.3d at 557, 559 (5th Cir. 1994)
(coram nobis petitioners must be “no longer in
custody” and “must be suffering civil
disabilities as a consequence of criminal
convictions”); see also Esogbue, 357 F.3d at
534 (district court had jurisdiction to hear coram
nobis petition when petition was filed in the court of
conviction, sentence was served, and petitioner faced
consequence of deportation).
however, must also show that a fundamental error justifies
vacating his conviction, and that sound reasons exist for his
delay in seeking earlier relief. See United States v.
Dyer, 136 F.3d 417, 422 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting
United States v. Morgan, 346 U.S. 502, 511-12
(1954)) (coram nobis will issue only to correct
errors of “the most fundamental character” and
“sound reasons” must exist for failure to seek
earlier appropriate relief). Petitioner fails to satisfy
fails to show that a fundamental error justifies vacating his
conviction. Although “ineffective assistance of
counsel, if proven, can be grounds for coram nobis
relief, ” Esogbue, 357 F.3d at 534, Petitioner
fails to show he ...