Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. McCauley

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Fifth Division

September 18, 2019

THE STATE
v.
MCCAULEY

          MCFADDEN, C. J., MCMILLIAN, P. J., and SENIOR APPELLATE JUDGE PHIPPS

          McMILLIAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Jayden Thomas McCauley was charged with eight counts of sexual exploitation of children after pictures of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were found on his cell phone in violation of OCGA § 16-12-100 (b). The sole issue in this appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion when it deviated from the mandatory sentencing requirements of OCGA § 17-10-6.2 by imposing a probation only sentence against McCauley after he entered a guilty plea to the charges. As more fully set forth below, we now remand for further consideration of this issue.

         Under OCGA § 16-12-100 (f) (1), any person convicted of sexual exploitation of a child shall be imprisoned for not less than five nor more than twenty years and is also subject to the sentencing conditions contained in OCGA § 17-10-6.2. Subsection (b) of the statute mandates a person convicted of a sexual offense must be sentenced to a split sentence that includes the minimum term of imprisonment as specified for the offense and an additional probated sentence of at least one year.

         However, under subsection (c) (1), the trial court has discretion to deviate from the mandatory minimum sentencing requirements set out in subsection (b), provided that certain conditions are met. Those conditions are set out in OCGA § 17-10-6.2 (c) (1) and require that:

(A) the defendant did not have a prior conviction for a sexual offense;
(B) the defendant did not use a deadly weapon or object during the crime;
(C) the court has not found evidence of a relevant similar transaction;
(D) the victim did not suffer intentional physical harm during the commission of the crime;
(E) the offense did not involve the transportation of the victim; and
(F) the victim was not physically restrained during the commission of the offense.[1]

         Under the statute, all of the conditions must be met in order for the trial court to deviate from the mandatory sentencing requirements, and if the trial court exercises sentencing discretion, it must make written findings supporting the deviation. OCGA § 17-10-6.2 (c) (2); see also Hedden v. State, 288 Ga. 871, 874 (708 S.E.2d 287) (2011).

         Turning to the case at hand, the record shows that McCauley entered a negotiated guilty plea to all of the charges against him. At a separate sentencing hearing, McCauley argued that he met all the conditions for a deviation and urged the trial court to impose a probation only sentence. McCauley testified at the sentencing hearing that he was seventeen years old at the time of the offenses alleged in the indictment, he had obtained the images through the "KIK App" and viewed them on his cell phone, and he had first viewed images of this type using the same application approximately 12 to 18 months before the offenses alleged in the indictment. The State's attorney opposed the downward deviation, arguing that the State had agreed to recommend a maximum of seven years in prison followed by probation as part of the negotiated plea, and that the trial court could not exercise its discretion to deviate from the mandatory sentencing requirements because McCauley's testimony that he first began viewing sexually explicit images of children about one year prior to the charges against him constituted evidence of a relevant similar transaction. See OCGA § 17-10-6.2 (c) (1) (C).

         The trial court rejected the State's argument, finding that McCauley's testimony merely indicated when he first started collecting the images and his conduct was part of an ongoing series of events of viewing sexually explicit pictures of children obtained on the KIK App that ultimately resulted in the charges against him. Following the hearing, the trial court sentenced McCauley to twenty years, but probated the entire sentence. The trial court also entered a separate order setting out the written findings required by OCGA § 17-10-6.2 (c) (2) to support the downward deviation. This appeal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.