Johnson v. Uribe

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 06-22-2012
  • Case #: 11-55187
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Marbley for the Court; Circuit Judges Kleinfeld and M. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

Vacating a defendant’s conviction and granting him a new trial is an adequate remedy for a constitutional violation of ineffective assistance of counsel when the violation occurred during the plea negotiation stage.

Kennard Johnson was sentenced to eleven years, four months in state court following his entry of a guilty plea to four theft-related counts. Johnson petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court, arguing that his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel was violated. The district court granted the writ subject to the state court imposing a new sentence within the lawful maximum range. Johnson appealed, challenging the adequacy of the district court’s remedy. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the grant of Johnson’s habeas petition, but vacated the district court’s remedy. The Court held that the district court’s grant of the writ subject to re-sentence was not an adequate remedy for the constitutional violation, because his counsel’s constitutionally deficient assistance affected the entire plea negotiation stage. Thus, the Court concluded that “[t]he district court should grant a conditional writ of habeas corpus, subject to state court vacating Johnson’s conviction and granting him a new trial” so as to put Johnson at a point in the process as if the violation did not occur. AFFIRMED and VACATED.

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