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Hower v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Second Division

March 6, 2015

HOWER
v.
THE STATE

Reconsideration denied March 26, 2015.

Guilty plea; motion to withdraw. DeKalb Superior Court. Before Judge Johnson.

Judgment affirmed.

Nathaniel J. Middleton, for appellant.

Robert D. James, Jr., District Attorney, Donna C. Stribling, Deborah D. Wellborn, Assistant District Attorneys, for appellee.

McFADDEN, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Ray, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 403

McFadden, Judge.

Jontae Hower appeals the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. He argues that he did not enter his plea freely and voluntarily, but the trial court found otherwise, and Hower has not shown error. Hower argues that his right to be present was violated when the state and his attorney engaged in plea negotiations outside of his presence. The plea negotiation here, however, was not a critical phase of the trial at which Hower had the right to be present. We therefore affirm the trial court's denial of Hower's motion.

Page 404

Hower was charged with aggravated child molestation but entered a guilty plea to the lesser included offense of child molestation. He was sentenced to 20 years, to serve 12 years in custody with the balance on probation. Hower filed a timely motion to withdraw his plea. The trial court denied the motion, and Hower filed this appeal.

1. The record supports the trial court's finding that Hower entered his plea freely and voluntarily.

Hower argues that his plea was not free and voluntary because counsel told him he would be found guilty if he went to trial; he was not told that he would be required to register as a sex offender; and he was not told ...


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