Ms. Johnson has more than two decades of experience representing clients in criminal and civil cases in federal and state courts in Colorado, California, and the District of Columbia. Ms. Johnson has defended clients against many types of criminal charges and convictions, including mail and wire fraud, insider trading, drug and firearm offenses, sexual assault, and murder.
Ms. Johnson represents criminal defendants in Colorado state courts at all stages of a criminal case, including trial, appeal, and post-conviction proceedings. She pursues a detail-oriented approach to criminal defense advocacy, emphasizing thorough factual investigation, creative plea bargaining, and a sophisticated motions practice built upon her in-depth legal research and persuasive legal writing. In recent years, in three separate sexual-assault cases, Ms. Johnson has obtained new trials during state post-conviction litigation and a federal habeas proceeding for clients serving sentences ranging from 48 years to life.
Ms. Johnson has successfully appealed federal criminal sentences to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, obtaining reversals and new sentencing hearings in which she obtained lower terms of imprisonment for her clients. She also persuaded the Tenth Circuit to vacate her client’s six-figure restitution order. Clients benefit from Ms. Johnson’s thorough understanding of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and persuasive federal sentencing advocacy.
Ms. Johnson defends clients facing or sentenced to the death penalty in state and federal courts. She regularly presents trainings to other lawyers and law students regarding topics such as federal death-penalty defense and appellate issue selection and brief writing.
Ms. Johnson helped a client obtain removal from Colorado’s sex-offender registry and has enforced a client’s fundamental parenting rights while he was on sex-offender probation. On occasion, Ms. Johnson represents witnesses and crime victims, advising them about the criminal process and advocating for their interests before prosecutors and judges.
In the area of prisoners’ rights, Ms. Johnson has vindicated the constitutional rights of inmate clients in federal and state courts. Through informal advocacy with governmental officials, she has also obtained improved medical care and less restrictive conditions of confinement for clients in federal and state custody.
Ms. Johnson is one of the few Colorado attorneys who is a member of the Criminal Justice Act panels for both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
Ms. Johnson began her legal career as an E. Barrett Prettyman fellow with the Georgetown Criminal Justice Clinic in Washington, D.C. She then served as a law clerk to Justice Michael L. Bender on the Colorado Supreme Court. She practiced law for several years at O’Melveny & Myers LLP (San Francisco office) and at Haddon, Morgan & Foreman, P.C. (Denver).
Ms. Johnson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Criminal Defense Institute and on the Advisory Board of Words Beyond Bars. She has previously served on the Steering Committee of the Colorado Innocence Project and the Board of Directors for the Estes Valley Land Trust.
Ms. Johnson is a mentor in the Law School . . . Yes We Can program.