Georgia v. CusackAnnotate this Case
The State appealed the grant of habeas relief to Patrick Cusack. Cusack pled guilty to one count of aggravated stalking, and seven counts of second-degree criminal damage to property. Cusack filed a petition for habeas corpus relief, asserting that the aggravated stalking plea was not freely and voluntarily made, as: (1) the court failed to apprise him of required constitutional rights; (2) trial counsel and the court failed to have his competency evaluated prior to the plea; and (3) trial counsel failed to pursue dismissal of his case by all means available. The habeas court denied the petition, and the Supreme Court denied Cusack’s application for a certificate of probable cause to the appeal that decision. Cusack filed a second habeas petition, arguing that “a single violation of a protective order, alone, simply does not establish ‘a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior,’" and claiming that his aggravated stalking conviction was based solely on a single violation of a protective order, and therefore is void. The habeas court granted Cusack relief, finding that the aggravated stalking charge was, in fact, based solely on a single act of sending a letter contrary to a court order, and that the misdemeanors of criminal damage to property in the second degree were treated as crimes separate from the aggravated stalking charge. The Supreme Court reversed the grant of habeas relief: under the precedents existing at the time of Cusack’s first habeas petition, a claim that Cusack could not be convicted of aggravated stalking based solely on a single violation of a protective order could have been raised. Consequently, under OCGA 9-14-51, habeas relief could not be granted on Cusack’s second habeas petition.