from the District Court, Third Judicial District, Kenai,
Trial Court No. 3KN-11-1432 CR Margaret L. Murphy, Judge.
Appearances: Timothy W. Terrell, Assistant Attorney General,
Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Craig W. Richards,
Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellant.
B. Johnson, in propria persona, Juneau, for the Appellee.
Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock,
Superior Court Judge. [*]
Johnny B. Johnson was incarcerated at the Spring Creek
Correctional Center in connection with another criminal case,
he assaulted a corrections officer. For this act, Johnson was
charged with fourth-degree assault. While this fourth-degree
assault charge was pending, Johnson was disciplined by the
Department of Corrections for the assault: Johnson received
60 days of punitive segregation, and he lost 185 days'
good time credit.
district court ruled that, because Johnson received this
prison discipline, it would be unlawful for the Department of
Law to pursue its separate fourth-degree assault prosecution
against Johnson. The district court concluded that the prison
discipline constituted a criminal punishment for purposes of
the double jeopardy clause - and that it would be
unconstitutional for the State to impose any additional
punishment on Johnson for the assault. The court therefore
dismissed the still-untried fourth-degree assault charge. The
State then filed this appeal.
years ago, the Alaska Supreme Court held that a
defendant's loss of good time credit in a prison
disciplinary proceeding does not constitute a
punishment for double jeopardy purposes. See Alex v.
State, 484 P.2d 677, 683-84 (Alaska 1971).
the decision in Alex, there is only one viable
ground for upholding the district court's decision in
Johnson's case: the argument that punitive segregation
should be viewed as a criminal punishment for jeopardy
purposes - because, as the label "punitive"
implies, this type of segregation is imposed as a punishment
for misconduct in prison (as opposed to administrative
from other jurisdictions are unanimous in holding that
punitive segregation does not constitute a criminal
punishment for purposes of the double jeopardy clause, and
that the imposition of punitive segregation by prison
officials does not bar a subsequent criminal prosecution for
the same misconduct.
likewise conclude that short-term punitive segregation, such
as the 60-day segregation imposed on Johnson in this case,
does not constitute a punishment for double jeopardy purposes
- and that the State is therefore entitled to pursue its
criminal prosecution against Johnson for fourth-degree
judgement of the district court is REVERSED.