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Jones v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

June 15, 2015

JONES
v.
THE STATE

Page 464

Guilty plea. Grady Superior Court. Before Judge Cato.

Judgment affirmed.

Copeland, Haugabrook & Walker, Roy W. Copeland; Robert R. McLendon IV, for appellant.

Joseph K. Mulholland, District Attorney, Moruf O. Oseni, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

ANDREWS, Presiding Judge. Miller and Branch, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 465

Andrews, Presiding Judge.

On the eve of trial, Jeffery Bernard Jones pled guilty in the Superior Court of Grady County to two counts of sale of cocaine (OCGA § 16-13-30 (b)).[1] Thereafter, Jones filed a notice of appeal to this Court. Jones alleges that he was " never provided an opportunity for the trial court to make a determination on whether he was informed about the ramifications of a guilty plea" and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered because he was under the influence of marijuana at his guilty plea hearing.[2] Finding no error, we affirm.

[332 Ga.App. 507] As a threshold matter, we note that Jones' prior counsel timely filed a notice of appeal following the entry of Jones' sentence. Present counsel then entered an appearance some five months later. Irrespective of this change in counsel, Georgia law is clear that " a criminal defendant does not have an unqualified right to file a direct appeal from a judgment of conviction and sentence entered on a guilty plea; however, where the question on appeal is one which may be resolved by facts appearing in the record, a direct appeal will lie." (Punctuation omitted.) Kennedy v. State, 319 Ga.App. 498 (735 S.E.2d 819) (2012). See also Smith v. State, 266 Ga. 687 (470 S.E.2d 436) (1996); Smith v. State, 253 Ga. 169 (316 S.E.2d 757) (1984). As a result, " the merits of [Jones'] appeal can be addressed if, and only if, the questions that he seeks to raise on appeal may be resolved by facts appearing in the record, including the transcript of his guilty plea hearing." Kennedy, 319 Ga.App. at 498-499 (citing Caine v. State, 266 Ga. 421 (467 S.E.2d 570) (1996)). And

in reviewing a direct appeal from a guilty plea, this Court must evaluate the enumerated errors based solely on the trial court record, including the record of the guilty plea and sentencing as well as any subsequent evidence that was properly presented to the reviewing court, assuming all of that is also properly included in the record on appeal.

(Punctuation omitted.) Kennedy, 319 Ga.App. at 499 (citing Tyner v. State, 289 Ga. 592, 593-594 (2) (714 S.E.2d 577) (2011)). We therefore look to the issues raised in Jones' brief and whether those issues

Page 466

may be resolved by the record ...


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