Humphrey v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Appellant Jamel Humphrey appealed a trial court’s denial of his motion to withdraw guilty plea. In July 1998, Humphrey pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Pursuant to his plea agreement with the State, the trial court’s sentencing order provided that Humphrey would be eligible for parole, but only after serving 25 years of his sentence. A decade and a half later, Humphrey moved to vacate his sentence, and the trial court denied the motion. On appeal, the Georgia Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the sentencing court had lacked the authority to impose limitations on parole eligibility that conflicted with those prescribed by statute, and thus concluding that “[t]hat provision of the sentence - but only that provision - must be vacated.” Subsequent to the entry of the Court's opinion but prior to our issuance of the remittitur, Humphrey filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. After the remittitur issued, the trial court entered an order vacating “only that portion of Humphrey’s sentence that purports to limit Humphrey’s eligibility for parole.” The trial court thereafter summarily denied Humphrey’s motion to withdraw. Humphrey appealed, contending that, after the Supreme Court directed that his sentence be partially vacated, he had the right to withdraw his plea in its entirety at any time before the trial court re-sentenced him. The Supreme Court disagreed, and concluded that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to entertain Humphrey's motion. Thus, rather than denying the motion, the trial court should have dismissed it.