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Latest in attempt by man to withdraw guilty plea in ‘child torture’ conviction
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Scott Shelby appears in Hall County Superior Court Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, for a hearing to determine if he is able to withdraw a guilty plea. Shelby was sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years for molesting and abusing four children. - photo by Scott Rogers

A man sentenced to life in prison in what prosecutors called “child torture” has had his motion to withdraw a guilty plea postponed again.

Scott Shelby, 47, was sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years in June after pleading guilty to multiple counts of child molestation and child cruelty concerning four children.

He then filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which was postponed because Shelby did not have an attorney at the time.

Defense attorney Jerry C. Carter Jr. told the court Monday, Sept. 26, that he would like the transcripts from the trial. Carter asked for these to buttress his argument about potential ineffective assistance of counsel at trial for Shelby.

Assistant District Attorney Harold Buckler argued that the trial transcript would not likely have any bearing on the motion to withdraw the plea, which is limited to whether the plea was made “knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily.” 

Even if there was earlier ineffectiveness of counsel, Shelby made the decision to enter a plea and waive his rights at trial, Buckler said.

Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin agreed to reset the motion to withdraw the guilty plea until they receive the transcripts “out of an abundance of caution.”

Carter also brought a motion to disqualify the trial court judge, who was Gosselin.

Carter said Shelby would likely testify that Gosselin oversaw previous matters in court involving Shelby and these children, which he felt was a conflict of interest.

Gosselin said previous case law shows that a judge presiding on previous cases is insufficient to recuse the judge. The motion was denied.

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Scott Shelby speaks with attorney Jerry Carter Jr. in Hall County Superior Court Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, for a hearing to determine if he is able to withdraw a guilty plea. Shelby was sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years for molesting and abusing four children. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Scott Shelby attorney Jerry Carter Jr. and Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin speak in Hall County Superior Court Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, for a hearing to determine if Shelby will be able to withdraw a guilty plea. Shelby was sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years for molesting and abusing four children. - photo by Scott Rogers