BLD-160 NOT PRECEDENTIAL
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
EDWARD M. ZINNER,
On Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
(D.C. Criminal Action No. 95-cr-00048-001)
District Judge: Honorable John R. Padova
Submitted on the Government’s Motion for Summary Affirmance
Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 27.4 and I.O.P. 10.6
April 22, 2021
Before: AMBRO, SHWARTZ, and PORTER, Circuit Judges
(Opinion filed: April 27, 2021)
This disposition is not an opinion of the full Court and pursuant to I.O.P. 5.7 does not
constitute binding precedent.
Edward Zinner appeals from the District Court’s order denying his petition for a
writ of coram nobis. After Zinner filed a pro se brief, the Government filed a motion for
summary affirmance. For the reasons that follow, we grant the Government’s motion and
will summarily affirm the District Court’s order.
The procedural history of this case and the details of Zinner’s claims are well
known to the parties and need not be discussed at length. In 1995, Zinner pleaded guilty
to racketeering and was sentenced to 68 months in prison.1 After filing an unsuccessful
§ 2255 motion, he filed a motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b), alleging that his
counsel acted under a conflict of interest and misled him into pleading guilty. The
District Court denied the motion after holding an evidentiary hearing. See United States
v. Zinner, Crim. No. 95-0048,
1998 WL 57522
, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 9, 1998).
Over twenty years later, in 2019, Zinner filed another Rule 60(b) motion based on
the same allegations. The District Court denied the motion, and we denied his request for
a certificate of appealability. See C.A. No. 19-2839. In August 2020, he filed a pro se
petition for a writ of coram nobis, alleging yet again that counsel had a conflict of
interest. The District Court denied the petition, and Zinner filed a timely notice of
We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and exercise de novo review
over legal issues arising from the denial of coram nobis relief. See United States v.
Zinner is no longer in custody on the conviction at issue. He is currently serving a
sentence of 120 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to financial crimes. See
United States v. Zinner, Crim. No. 17-cr-00003 (E.D. Va. Apr. 18, 2018).
640 F.3d 69
, 71 (3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam). We may take summary action if an
appeal fails to present a substantial question. See 3d Cir. I.O.P. 10.6.
A petitioner seeking a writ of coram nobis must, inter alia, assert an error of a
fundamental kind that had no remedy at the time of the criminal proceeding. Ragbir v.
950 F.3d 54
, 62 (3d Cir. 2020). A fundamental error is one that
undermines the jurisdiction of the trial court and invalidates the proceeding.
Id. at 63.
The Supreme Court has noted, “it is difficult to conceive of a situation in a federal
criminal case today where a writ of coram nobis would be necessary or appropriate.”
Carlisle v. United States,
517 U.S. 416
, 429 (1996) (internal alteration and quotation
Zinner has not alleged a fundamental error that would entitle him to coram nobis
relief. In his petition, he asserts that his defense counsel had a conflict of interest with
respect to Zinner’s guilty plea. This alleged error does not undermine the jurisdiction of
the trial court or invalidate his criminal proceedings. Moreover, as noted above, the
District Court held an evidentiary hearing addressing these allegations in 1998, and we
recently denied Zinner a certificate of appealability to appeal the denial of a Rule 60(b)
motion raising these same allegations. See C.A No. 19-2839.
Summary action is appropriate if there is no substantial question presented in the
appeal. See 3d Cir. LAR 27.4. For the reasons set forth above, we grant the
Government’s motion for summary action and will summarily affirm the District Court’s
September 16, 2020 order. See 3d Cir. I.O.P. 10.6. The Government’s motion to be
excused from filing a brief is denied as moot.