DILLARD, P. J., GOBEIL and HODGES, JJ.
fourth day of a jury trial, John Dollan Dodson changed his
plea and entered pleas of guilty to one count each of
aggravated assault with intent to commit rape (OCGA §
16-5-21 (a) (1)), kidnapping (OCGA § 16-5-40 (a)),
aggravated assault (OCGA § 16-5-21 (a) (2)), and making
false statements (OCGA § 16-10-20). The Superior Court
of Seminole County denied Dodson's subsequent motion to
withdraw his guilty plea, and Dodson appeals, asserting that
he received ineffective assistance of post-conviction
counsel. We find no error and affirm.
jury indicted Dodson for two counts of aggravated sexual
battery and one count each of rape, kidnapping with bodily
injury, aggravated assault, making false statements, criminal
attempt to commit subornation of perjury and false swearing,
and criminal attempt to commit influencing witnesses. In a
pre-trial hearing, the State recited the maximum penalty for
each offense and offered to allow Dodson to enter a plea of
guilty to rape and serve 25 years followed by probation for
life; the remaining seven counts of the indictment would be
dismissed. Dodson rejected the State's offer during the
[COUNSEL]: Judge, I have conveyed [the] offer to Mr. Dodson.
We've gone over the specifics of it. We've talked
about the pros and cons of going to trial and I've
answered any questions he has, and he has indicated to me
that he is not interested in pleading guilty and he wishes to
proceed to trial.
THE COURT: Mr. Dodson, the only thing I'm interested in
is that you understand what you could be subjected to as far
as punishment and that any plea offers that have been made
that you have a clear understanding. The choice is yours on
what to do with that and that is not a concern of mine. I
just want to make sure that you have been conveyed that offer
and that that is what you understand.
[DODSON]: Yeah, he made me aware of the offer and I told
[counsel] that I was - I want to go to trial.
THE COURT: Okay. All right.
trial court confirmed that, despite Dodson's rejection,
the State's plea offer would "still [be] on the
table[.]" Thereafter, the case proceeded to trial.
fourth day of trial, after the State had presented 20
witnesses as part of its case-in-chief and, in particular,
after Dodson's girlfriend testified, Dodson appeared
"fearful" and asked trial counsel if "the plea
[was] still on the table[.]" Trial counsel then
discussed a potential plea bargain with the prosecuting
attorney and, after receiving an offer, trial counsel
reviewed the offer with Dodson. Dodson also discussed the
plea offer with his girlfriend and ultimately decided to
enter a plea of guilty.
factual basis for the plea, the evidence demonstrated that
Dodson waited for the victim inside a darkened mobile home,
ambushed her by throwing a blanket over her head and grabbing
her, and carried her to the master bedroom of the home.
Dodson laid the victim on the bed, partially removed the
victim's pants and, as the victim struggled to get away,
forcibly inserted his penis into her vagina. The State
offered to allow Dodson to plead guilty to the lesser
included offenses of aggravated assault with intent to commit
rape and kidnapping, as well as to aggravated assault and
making false statements; the remaining four charges, as well
as additional unindicted charges, would be dismissed. At the
beginning of the guilty plea hearing, the following exchange
[TRIAL COUNSEL]: And Mr. Dodson, let the Judge finish his
whole question first -
THE COURT: And I did a poor job in -
[DODSON]: I'm hard of hearing.
THE COURT: Okay.
[TRIAL COUNSEL]: Yeah, if you don't mind, he is hard of
THE COURT: Okay. Well, what I want you [to] do, if I say
something and you don't hear it and you don't
understand it, let me know and we'll go over it until you
[DODSON]: Yes, sir.
point thereafter did Dodson express any difficulty in hearing
or understanding the trial court's
statements. After examining Dodson and reviewing the
terms of the plea offer, including the sentences Dodson
faced, the trial court ...