Davis v. Georgia

In 2013, a grand jury indicted Appellant Brandon Davis for malice murder and felony murder predicated on aggravated assault in connection with the April 2013 stabbing death of Chassity Lester. Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, the State nolle prossed the malice murder count and Davis pled guilty to felony murder; he received a life sentence. Two weeks later, within the same term of court, plea counsel moved to withdraw Davis’ guilty plea alleging “manifest injustice.” At a subsequent hearing (during which Davis was still represented by the same attorney) Davis personally alleged that plea counsel was ineffective; while counsel acknowledged that this was the crux of Davis’ complaint, he also argued that Davis’ plea was not knowingly and voluntarily made. The trial court neither appointed new counsel after Davis raised a claim of ineffective assistance nor received evidence on the claim. Nevertheless, the trial court made a verbal ruling that there was no evidence to support Davis’ allegation of ineffective assistance and, later, entered an order summarily denying Davis’ motion. Davis appealed, reasserting his ineffectiveness claim. The Georgia Supreme Court held that the earliest practicable moment Davis could have properly raised a claim of ineffectiveness was with new counsel on appeal. Therefore, the Court reversed the trial court’s ruling with respect to that claim, and remanded the case for the trial court to hold a hearing on Davis’ ineffectiveness claim with new counsel. View "Davis v. Georgia" on Justia Law