United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
J. LODGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court in the above-entitled matter is Defendant
Rafael Beier's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal and/or
New Trial. The parties have filed their responsive briefing
and the matter is ripe for the Court's consideration. The
facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the
briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding
further delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that
the decisional process would not be significantly aided by
oral argument, this Motion will be decided on the record
before this Court without oral argument.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Fourth Superseding Indictment charged the Defendant with one
count of Conspiracy to Dispense a Controlled Substance,
sixty-six counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance,
and four counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance to
a Person Under the Age of Twenty-One. (Dkt. 73.) A seven-day
jury trial was held and on May 17, 2016 the Jury returned a
verdict of guilty on all of the charges presented to it.
(Dkt. 112, 116.) Following the verdict, the Court allowed
Defendant's trial counsel to withdraw from the case.
(Dkt. 127.) Newly retained defense counsel then appeared and
filed the instant Motion which the Court takes up in this
Order. (Dkt. 128, 139.)
Motion for Judgment of Acquittal - Rule 29
for a judgment of acquittal are governed by Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 29(c), which allows the court to set aside
the verdict and enter a judgment of acquittal where, after
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, the court finds there is insufficient evidence
upon which any rational trier of fact could have found the
essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
United States v. Yossunthorn, 167 F.3d 1267 (9th
Cir. 1999). The “evidence is insufficient to support a
verdict where mere speculation, rather than reasonable
inference, supports the government's case.”
United States v. Nevils, 598 F.3d 1158, 1167 (9th
Cir. 2010) (en banc). The “critical
inquiry” is “whether the record evidence could
reasonably support a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt.” Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318
making this inquiry, the Court is mindful that “it is
the exclusive function of the jury to determine the
credibility of witnesses, resolve evidentiary conflicts, and
draw reasonable inferences from proven facts.”
United States v. Alarcon-Simi, 300 F.3d 1172, 1176
(9th Cir. 2002). “Circumstantial evidence and
inferences drawn from it may be sufficient to sustain a
conviction.” United States v. Reyes-Alvarado,
963 F.2d 1184, 1188 (9th Cir. 1992).
Motion for New Trial - Rule 33
for a New Trial are governed by Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 33, which allows a court to grant a new trial
“if the interests of justice so require.” Fed. R.
Crim. P. 33(a). “A district court's power to grant
a motion for a new trial is much broader than its power to
grant a motion for judgment of acquittal.” United
States v. Alston, 974 F.2d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir. 1992).
“A motion for a new trial is directed to the discretion
of the district judge. It should be granted only in
exceptional cases in which the evidence preponderates heavily
against the verdict.” United States v.
Pimentel, 654 F.2d 538, 545 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal
citations removed). The defendant has the burden to justify
the need for a new trial. United States v. Shaffer,
789 F.2d 682, 687 (9th Cir. 1986).
argues the conspiracy charged in Count One should be vacated
under Wharton's Rule. (Dkt. 140.) The Government counters
that Wharton's Rule does not apply here. (Dkt. 145.)
Defendant maintains the application of Wharton's Rule
depends on the specific allegations and facts of ...