DeWayne Nicolus Griffin, 24, was represented in Carroll County Superior Court Tuessday by Carrollton attorney Candace Rader, who argued in her motion that Griffin’s representation during the plea, Villa Rica attorney Mac Pilgrim, was “deficient.”
The hearing lasted less than two hours, with Judge John Simpson adjourning the matter until today at 10:15 a.m.
Three witnesses called by the defense gave testimony Tuesday, including two of the officers who worked the April 2011 accident, which left a man without a right arm, and the defendant’s father, Wesley Griffin.
Griffin entered a “blind plea” on Oct. 16, meaning a sentence recommendation from the state had not been negotiated beforehand — Simpson was left to sentence the man without a recommendation from the state, sentencing him to six years in prison, followed by nine years probation.
Pilgrim reiterated several times in the first part of the hearing Monday that he had gone over the risks and possible rewards of entering a blind plea, but the defendant’s father disagreed in his testimony, saying the words “blind plea” had not been mentioned until the morning of Griffin’s plea.
Griffin was arrested on April 29, 2011, after an accident on North Park Street in Carrollton. He and the victim, Hamim Blakely, had been at Samba Loca Restaurant before departing to attend a party at a residence. Four hours after the accident, Griffin’s blood was tested, revealing a 0.12 blood alcohol level.
According to measurements taken by Carrollton Police Department after the accident, Assistant District Attorney John Cunningham said, the car had been traveling 75 miles per hour when it struck the car the defendant was following to the party, flipping the vehicle and catching it on fire.
Griffin was sentenced to six years in state prison, followed by nine years of probation, by Simpson on charges of serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving.
Rader argued that Griffin and his attorney, Pilgrim, were not given the complete information on the accident, including more than 100 “data points,” or electronic mapping data necessary for plotting out an accident.
“Since he was not given all the information, his plea was not knowingly entered,” Rader said, referencing the condition that all guilty pleas must be “knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily” entered.
The hearing will be continued at 10:15 a.m. today, with testimony from the defendant and a possible ruling expected to be heard.