People v. Johnson
2020 COA 124. No. 17CA0822. Criminal Law—Sentencing—Appeal—Death of Defendant—Abatement Ab Initio—Restitution.
August 20, 2020
Defendant was convicted of multiple counts of securities fraud and theft and adjudicated a habitual criminal. The district court sentenced him to 48 years in prison and ordered him to pay approximately $220,000 in costs, fees, and restitution. Defendant timely appealed, but before the appeal could be resolved, he died.
Defendant’s counsel filed a motion notifying the Court of Appeals of defendant’s death and requesting the abatement ab initio of all proceedings against him, including his convictions and the restitution order. The People objected, arguing that the restitution order should not be abated because it is a civil judgment that survives defendant’s death. Where, as here, a defendant dies while his direct appeal is pending, the doctrine of abatement ab initio extinguishes everything associated with the case and leaves the defendant as if he had never been indicted or convicted.
The case was remanded with directions to abate the criminal conviction; dismiss the charges against defendant; vacate any orders concerning costs, fees, and fines; and vacate the restitution order.
Criminal Law, Sentencing, Appeal, Death of Defendant, Abatement Ab Initio, Restitution