Colorado v. JohnsonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether the trial court violated respondent Michael Johnson's statutory and constitutional rights by increasing his sentence on the remaining conviction on remand following a successful appeal on his other convictions. The trial court initially accepted, then rejected at sentencing, a plea agreement in which Johnson would have pled guilty to an added count of possession of a controlled substance, then the original counts would have been dismissed. The trial court rejected the plea agreement, the case proceeded to trial, and the jury found Johnson guilty of first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault, and possession of a controlled substance. Johnson was then sentenced to an aggregate sentence of twenty years to life. The court of appeals reversed and vacated the sexual assault and kidnapping convictions on double jeopardy grounds. The case was remanded for the trial court to reinstate the original plea agreement, and to resentence Johnson on the remaining possession conviction. Johnson received a twelve-year sentence (twice the length of the original six-year sentence). Johnson appealed a second time, arguing that the increased sentence violated his statutory and due process rights. The court of appeals rejected Johnson's statutory claim, but applied a presumption of vindictiveness to the trial court's resentencing and held that the sentence indeed violated Johnson's due process rights. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, concluding that the court of appeals correctly rejected Johnson's statutory argument, but erred in applying the presumption of vindictiveness to the new sentence on the possession of a controlled substance conviction.