Tuesday, May 7, 2013

KYSC - Johnson - Unanimous Verdict

Johnson v. Commonwealth, 2011-SC-000365-MR (rendered 4/25/13) (to be published), 

The evidence suggested the child victim had sustained numerous injuries over time, yet the jury instructions failed to specify what injury or abusive act the jury should use as a basis for finding guilt. When the evidence could support guilt based on more than one criminal act, the instructions must require the jury to specify which criminal act is relied on in finding guilt.  Otherwise the verdict is non-unanimous in violation of both Section 7 of the Kentucky Constitution and federal due process. 

Susan Balliet was the appellate attorney.

Contributed by Kathleen Schmidt