MILLER, P. J., RICKMAN and REESE, JJ.
Gray appeals from the trial court's sua sponte order
setting aside a modification of his sentence. For the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
record shows that Gray was indicted on five counts of sexual
exploitation of children, and that in January 2017, he
entered a non-negotiated plea of guilty and was sentenced to
ten years to serve in prison followed by ten years on
probation, with sexual offender requirements. Ten months
later, Gray moved to modify his sentence. Eleven months after
that, Gray and the State appeared before a different trial
court judge, sitting by designation, who granted the motion.
Thus, twenty-one months after the original sentencing, the
substitute judge entered a consent order reducing Gray's
sentence to a term of five years to serve in prison followed
by fifteen years on probation, with sexual offender
requirements (the "Modification Order").
weeks later, the originally assigned judge, acting sua sponte
and without notice or a hearing, filed an order vacating the
Modification Order and reinstating Gray's original
sentence (the "Reinstatement Order"). The court
found the Modification Order "to be inappropriate and
not in the interests of justice," and the court cited as
authority its "inherent power during the same term of
court in which the judgment was rendered to revise, correct,
revoke, modify or vacate the judgment, even upon his own
motion." Gray appeals.
appeal, Gray argues that the Reinstatement Order is void
because he had begun to serve the reduced sentence and the
trial court lacked the authority to increase his sentence by
reimposing the original sentence. The State also contends
that the Reinstatement Order is void, but on the ground that
"[a]ny order modifying a sentence which is entered
without notice and an opportunity for a hearing as provided
in this subsection shall be void." OCGA § 17-10-1
(f). We are constrained to disagree with both parties based
on the plain language of OCGA § 17-10-1 (f). As shown
below, under that statute the Modification Order itself was
void because the trial court (here with a judge sitting by
designation) lacked jurisdiction to enter that order more
than one year after the original sentencing, and the original
sentencing judge was authorized to correct the void sentence.
as provided by statute, a sentencing court has no power to
modify a valid sentence of imprisonment after the term of
court in which it was imposed has expired." State v.
Hart, 263 Ga.App. 8, 9 (587 S.E.2d 164) (2003). As
provided by statute,  sentencing courts have
"jurisdiction" to correct or reduce a sentence for
one year following the original sentence or within 120 days
of receiving the remittitur following a direct appeal:
Within one year of the date upon which the sentence is
imposed, or within 120 days after receipt by the sentencing
court of the remittitur upon affirmance of the judgment after
direct appeal, whichever is later, the court imposing the
sentence has the jurisdiction, power, and authority
to correct or reduce the sentence and to suspend or probate
all or any part of the sentence imposed. . . .
(Emphasis supplied.) OCGA § 17-10-1 (f); see also
von Thomas v. State, 293 Ga. 569, 571 (2) (748
S.E.2d 446) (2013) ("The sentencing court generally has
jurisdiction to modify or vacate such a sentence only for one
year following the imposition of the sentence."). After
the time allowed by OCGA § 17-10-1 (f) expires, the
sentencing court has jurisdiction to vacate a sentence only
to the extent that the sentence is void. von Thomas,
293 Ga. at 571 (2).
here, where Gray did not argue that his sentence was void,
the plain language of OCGA § 17-10-1 (f) dictates that
the trial court lost jurisdiction to correct or reduce
Gray's sentence months before it entered the Modification
Order. Cf. Davis v. State, 291 Ga.App. 252, 253 (661
S.E.2d 872) (2008) (OCGA § 17-10-1 (f) gives trial court
120 days following its receipt of the remittitur from the
prior appeal "to consider and rule upon" a motion
to modify sentence.); Esquivel v. State, 266 Ga.App.
715, 716 (598 S.E.2d 24) (2004) ("the latest date when
the trial court could have changed Esquivel's sentence
was 120 days after the trial court received the
remittitur"). Compare Carr-MacArthur v. Carr,
296 Ga. 30, 33 (2) (764 S.E.2d 840) (2014) ("[N]othing
in OCGA § 19-9-3 (a) (8) suggests that, after a delay of
30 days, the trial court loses jurisdiction or must grant a
motion for reconsideration . . ., and we will not engraft
such a provision onto the statute."). That Gray filed a
motion to modify his sentence within the one-year period
provided in OCGA § 17-10-1 (f) does not alter the result
under the plain meaning of that statute.
construction of the statute is supported by its context. See
City of Guyton v. Barrow, ___ Ga. ___ (3)
(828 S.E.2d 366) (2019) (the words of a statute are not to be
read in isolation but in context).
The primary determinant of a text's meaning is its
context, which includes the structure and history of the text
and the broader context in which that text was enacted,
including statutory and decisional law that forms the legal
background of the written text.
Id. Relatedly, "all statutes are presumed to be
enacted by the legislature with full knowledge of the
existing condition of the law and with reference to it. They
are therefore to be construed in connection and in harmony
with the existing law." (Citation and punctuation
omitted.) Grange Mutual Casualty Co. v. Woodard, 300
Ga. 848, 852 (2) (A) (797 S.E.2d 814) (2017); see
Williams v. State, 299 Ga. 632, 634 (791 S.E.2d 55)
to the enactment of OCGA § 17-10-1 (f), and as a matter
of long-standing common law, the term-of-court rule provided
as follows: "In the absence of a statute providing
otherwise, . . . a court cannot set aside or alter its final
judgment after the expiration of the term at which it was
entered, unless the proceeding for that purpose was begun
during that term." United States v. Mayer, 235
U.S. 55, 67 (1) (35 S.Ct. 16, 59 LE 129) (1914); see
Miraglia v. Bryson, 152 Ga. 828 (111 SE 655) (1922)
(following Mayer); see also Kaiser v.
State, 285 Ga.App. 63, 65 (1) (646 S.E.2d 84) (2007)
("This is a judicially created rule" that evolved
from common law.). Thus, under the term-of-court rule, a
court's authority to modify its judgments extends after
the term of court during which the ...