Lockhart v. Nelson

488 U.S. 33 (1988)


Nelson (D) pled guilty to a burglary. He was sentenced in court under a habitual criminal offender statute. The state had the burden of showing conviction for the prior crimes at the sentencing hearing. The state presented the evidence of D's prior convictions but unbeknownst to the prosecutor one of those convictions had been pardoned several years after its entry by the Governor. Defense counsel did not know that one of the offenses was pardoned. This issue was developed at trial but was dismissed when respondent agreed that the conviction had been commuted to time served. The jury found the state had met its burden and imposed an enhanced sentence. The state courts upheld the ruling even though D proved that one of the convictions had been pardoned. D then applied for habeas corpus, and it was granted. The State then announced its intention to resentence D using another prior conviction not offered or admitted in the first hearing. D claimed double jeopardy. The District Court agreed, and it was affirmed by the Eighth Circuit. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.