Georgia v. Hayes

In February 2010, Marion Hayes was charged with burglary, aggravated assault, possession of tools for commission of a crime, and obstruction of a police officer. The State filed notice of its intention to seek recidivist punishment under OCGA § 17-10-7 (a) and (c), based upon three previous burglary convictions. Hayes filed a pro se motion for an out-of-time appeal, which was granted, and he appealed pro se to the Court of Appeals. That court found that the trial court, by telling Hayes, “if you were sentenced to 20 years you will serve every day of that in prison,” and “you are facing 20 years and you would serve every day of it if you are found guilty. And that was the sentence imposed by the court,” failed to inform Hayes that part of his sentence could be probated or suspended. It thus concluded that the trial court “effectively advised Hayes that it had no intention of probating or suspending any portion of his sentence if he proceeded to trial, stating that he would spend ‘every day of [the 20-year sentence] in prison.’ And this impermissible participation by the trial court in the plea-negotiation process ‘rendered the resulting guilty plea involuntary.’” Hayes’ conviction was thus reversed and the case remanded for a new plea or trial. The Georgia Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeals misinterpreted the trial court’s colloquy and the applicable law, and reversed its judgment. View "Georgia v. Hayes" on Justia Law