United States v. Johnson

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 02-05-2016
  • Case #: 14-10113
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Rosenthal for the Court; Circuit Judges Kozinski and Tallman
  • Full Text Opinion

Application of the obstruction enhancement under United States Sentencing Guidelines § 3C1.1 to trial testimony does not impermissibly penalize a defendant twice for the same conduct, assuming the district court found the trial testimony was false, willful, and material.

Stephen Johnson was indicted for obstructing justice when he lied under oath to a grand jury regarding his role in impeding an investigation when he warned targets about an approaching police raid. The district court, using only Johnson’s trial testimony and without expressly finding that Johnson’s testimony was willfully and materially false, applied the obstruction of justice enhancement under § 3C1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The district court sentenced Johnson to a two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit found that applying the obstruction enhancement to Johnson’s trial testimony does not impermissibly penalize him twice for the same conduct, assuming the district court finds Johnson’s trial testimony was false, willful, and material on remand. VACATED and REMANDED for resentencing.

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