Guilty plea; motion to withdraw. Coweta Superior Court. Before Judge Simpson.
Marcus J. Walker, pro se (case no. A15A0776).
Jimmonique R. S. Rodgers, Tyler R. Conklin, for appellant (case no. A15A0777).
Peter J. Skandalakis, District Attorney, Kevin T. McMurry, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
Ellington, P. J., and Dillard, J., concur.
Marcus Walker pleaded guilty to trafficking in cocaine and sale of cocaine. Within the same term of court, and acting pro se, he moved to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing, among other things, that his plea was involuntary and requesting legal representation and a hearing on his motion. See Rubiani v. State, 279 Ga. 299 (612 S.E.2d 798) [332 Ga.App. 257] (2005); OCGA § 15-6-3 (14) (B). In the next term of court, Walker, still acting pro se, filed a " motion to overturn" his convictions.
After conducting a hearing, the trial court denied the motions, and Walker filed these appeals.
1. Motion to withdraw.
Walker moves to remand Case No. A15A0777, the appeal of the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. To its credit, the state concedes that the trial court's order should be reversed and the case remanded for a hearing.
In Fortson v. State, 272 Ga. 457 (532 S.E.2d 102) (2000), our Supreme Court held that a proceeding to withdraw a guilty plea is a critical stage of a criminal prosecution, id. at 459 (1), and that " the right to counsel attaches when a defendant seeks to withdraw a guilty plea, thus entitling that defendant to assistance of counsel." Id. at 460 (1). The court further held that the trial court has an obligation to provide counsel or to obtain a constitutionally
valid waiver of counsel from a defendant who seeks to withdraw his guilty plea. Id. at 459.
The transcript of the hearing on Walker's motion shows that the trial court conducted the hearing without appointing Walker counsel, without informing him of his right to counsel, and without obtaining a ...