Davis v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
In 2016, Appellant Brandon Davis pled guilty to the felony murder of Chassity Lester. Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, the State nolle prossed one count of malice murder (the only other charge for which Davis was indicted), and the trial court sentenced Davis to life imprisonment. Approximately two weeks later, and during the same term of court, Davis moved, through plea counsel, to withdraw his guilty plea. At a hearing on that motion, during which Davis was still represented by the same attorney who represented him during his guilty plea, Davis personally told the trial judge that he felt that his plea counsel did not have enough time to prepare for the case. Davis’s attorney also argued that Davis was “psychologically coerced” into pleading guilty. Without appointing new counsel or receiving evidence on that claim, the trial court denied Davis’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The Georgia Supreme Court reversed that denial and remanded the case for the trial court to hold a hearing with new counsel on Davis’s ineffectiveness claim. On remand, the trial court again denied Davis’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The Supreme Court dismissed as untimely Davis’s first attempt to appeal that ruling, but Davis then requested, and was granted, this out-of-time appeal. The Supreme Court found counsel’s conduct did not “fall below an objective standard of reasonableness,” and affirmed the sentence.