71 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 1 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/waleelro71 and id is 1 raw text is: 









                Commonwealth v. Morris: The

          Disappearance of 169 Years of the

                                       Common Law?


                                                     Horace*


                       Table of Contents

    I. Introduction                  ................1.....................
    II. The Statutes..................3............3
  III. The Court's Precedent               ............5...........5
  IV.  Post-Morris Decisions               ...................... 11


                        I. Introduction

    In Commonwealth   v. Morris,' the Supreme Court of Virginia
properly decided that the writs of coram vobis and audita querela
may  not be used to modify a final criminal conviction order more
than  twenty-one days  after its entry.2 The court decided the
inapplicability of coram vobis under Virginia Code  8.01-6773
and its own precedent.4 It decided the inapplicability of audita
querela under the English common   law, citing cases from 1670,
1701, and 1792.5 In the course of the opinion it conflated Virginia
Code   1-200 and  1-2016 and held  in dictum that  Virginia's
adoption of the common law of England ends in 1607 .... From

    *  Horace is a judge of an inferior Virginia court and a graduate of
Washington and Lee School of Law.
    1. 705 S.E.2d 503 (Va. 2011).
    2. See id. at 509 (finding that the alleged errors of fact were not sufficient
for the purposes of coram vobis and holding that the writ of audita querela may
not be used to seek postconviction relief from criminal sentences).
    3. VA. CODE ANN.  8.01-677 (2012).
    4. See Morris, 705 S.E.2d at 506-08 (discussing the coram vobis issue).
    5. See id. at 508-09 (discussing the audita querela issue).
    6. VA. CODE ANN.  1-200, -201 (2012).


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