CRIMINAL – Blockerburger test; systematic exclusion of jurors: Charles Lamar Johnson v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (SC 8/27/2009)

Charles Lamar Johnson v. Commonwealth of Kentucky
2007-SC-000952-MR August 27, 2009
Opinion by Justice Scott. All sitting; all concur.

Johnson was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of rape, incest, sexual abuse and sodomy. On appeal, Johnson’s claim that the venire did not represent a fair cross-section of the community was rejected by the Court, who found that Johnson did not supplement the record with statistical information to make a prima facie showing of a violation.

The Court held that Johnson’s claim that African-Americans were systematically excluded from the grand jury was not properly preserved since Johnson made no objection before trial. The Court also rejected Johnson’s argument that his conviction amounted to double jeopardy because he was being convicted of both rape and incest for the same acts against his daughters. The Court noted that each offense required proof of a fact that the other did not— thus satisfying the Blockburger test. The Court rejected Johnson’s claim of prosecutorial misconduct, holding that merely because witnesses made inconsistent statements did not mean the prosecution knowingly presented perjurious testimony as to a material issue. Lastly, the Court rejected Johnson’s argument he should have been granted a directed verdict on the first and second degree rape charges since the prosecution failed to present evidence of his age when the acts were committed. The Court held that enough evidence existed for the jury to reasonably infer Johnson must have been 21 or older at the time of the acts since his children—among the victims—were shown to have been 15 and 12 at the time. The conviction was affirmed.

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