State v. Johnson
Because one cannot commit the greater offense of conspiracy to possess narcotics with intent to sell without first committing the lesser offense of conspiring to possess narcotics, the defendant's conviction of and sentence for the latter offense violated double jeopardy principles. In connection with controlled purchases of Roxicodone by a confidential informant and following a jury trial, Jennifer Johnson, was convicted of various crimes including conspiracy to commit possession of narcotics with intent to sell, possession of narcotics and conspiracy to commit possession of narcotics. Johnson appealed raising multiple claims including that the separate conspiracy convictions of possession and possession with intent to sell must be reversed because they represented but one agreement and violated the double jeopardy clause. The Appellate Court concluded, inter alia, that the evidence at trial sufficed to sustain the convictions and that there was no requirement that the defendant must have known of the illegal character of the substance. But, because one cannot commit the greater offense of conspiracy to possess narcotics with intent to sell without first committing the lesser offense of conspiring to possess narcotics, the conviction and sentence for the latter offense violated double jeopardy principles. Bound by and following the approach of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1996 case of Rutledge v. U.S., the Appellate Court concluded that one of these convictions was required to be vacated and not just the sentence. The judgment as to the conspiracy to possess narcotics charge was reversed and the case remanded with direction to vacate both the conviction and sentence on that charge. The conviction was affirmed on the conspiracy to possess narcotics with intent to sell charge but the sentence was vacated. The case was remanded for resentencing on that charge under the aggregate package theory. Connecticut's prior approach was to combine the lesser included offense with the greater offense and to vacate only the sentence on any lesser included offense. In Rutledge, the U.S. Supreme Court, adhering to the presumption that Congress intended to authorize only one punishment and one conviction, concluded that one of the defendant's convictions was unauthorized punishment for a separate offense and had to be vacated. By analogy, the Appellate Court concluded that Connecticut's legislature did not intend two convictions and penalties for the state crimes at issue.