Appellate court upholds ruling in Juneau meth case

The Alaska Court of Appeals upheld a Juneau Superior Court decision Wednesday in the sentencing of a 37-year-old man convicted for the sale of methamphetamine and weapons possession.

Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez sentenced Todd L. Johnson, 37, on Sept. 24 to serve a total of seven years for selling methamphetamine and possessing a concealed firearm as a felon.

The charges were a class B felony punishable up to 10 years in prison and a class C felony punishable up to five years in prison, respectively. Both offenses stem from an incident in May 2015, according to CourtView.

In an appeal to appellate Chief Judge David Mannheimer, Johnson asserted that the superior court committed an error by not considering the small quantity of the drugs sold and the “circumstances that led Johnson to become dependent on drugs.”

The appellate court’s review did show a possible error for the small quantity of drugs, and the appellate court previously returned the case to the lower court for reconsideration. The superior court decision at that time was to reduce the sentence by one year. The superior court’s decision to lower the sentencing made the appeal moot, the appellate court decided Wednesday.

As for Johnson’s second argument that his drug offense was “the least serious” offense for that category of felony, the appellate court sided with the lower court’s ruling. The appellate court called the sale of methamphetamine, while small in quantity, “a typical commercial sale” and Johnson acted as an middleman for the ultimate supplier of methamphetamine.

Because Johnson’s attorney did not ask the court originally to consider the cause of his drug dependency, the ruling was upheld.

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