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United States v. Boykin

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

April 2, 2014



LINDA R. READE, District Judge.


The matter before the court is Defendant Trey Michael Boykin's "Motion for Judgment of Acquittal or in the Alternative a New Trial" ("Motion") (docket no. 102).


On October 24, 2013, a grand jury returned a six-count Superseding Indictment (docket no. 47) against Defendant and Gerry Alan Patterson. Count 1 charged Defendant with conspiring to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(D) and 846. Count 2 charged Defendant with willfully and unlawfully seizing, confining, inveigling, decoying, kidnapping, abducting and carrying away and holding R.W. by a means, facility and instrumentality of interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201. Count 3 charged Defendant with possessing and brandishing and aiding and abetting the possession and brandishing of a firearm in furtherance of the kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 924(c)(1)(A). Count 6 charged Defendant with knowingly possessing or aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(3) and 924(a)(2). The Superseding Indictment also included a forfeiture allegation.

On January 21, 2014, a jury trial commenced on Counts 1, 2, 3 and 6 of the Superseding Indictment as to Defendant. On January 22, 2014, at the close of the government's evidence and at the close of all evidence, Defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 29. January 22, 2014 Minute Entry (docket no. 93). The court denied such motion as to Count 1, struck the aiding and abetting language from Count 6 and reserved ruling as to Counts 2 and 3. Id. On January 23, 2014, the jury returned guilty verdicts as to Counts 1 and 2 and not guilty verdicts as to Counts 3 and 6. Jury Verdicts (docket no. 97).

On January 28, 2014, Defendant filed the Motion in which Defendant requests that the court grant a judgment of acquittal or a new trial on Counts 1 and 2. On February 4, 2014, the government filed a Resistance (docket no. 103). The matter is fully submitted and ready for decision.


The trial evidence established that, between June 1, 2012 and February 25, 2013, Defendant sold distribution quantities of marijuana to R.W., a student at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, and R.W. then distributed the marijuana to his acquaintances at Briar Cliff University. Then, on or about February 25, 2013, R.W. contacted Defendant seeking more marijuana to distribute. Defendant contacted Gerry Patterson to obtain the marijuana, but Patterson did not have any marijuana. Despite not having marijuana, Defendant represented to R.W. that he would sell him marijuana. Defendant and Patterson drove to the Briar Cliff University campus in Defendant's vehicle and convinced R.W. to enter the vehicle. Defendant and Patterson then prevented R.W. from leaving the vehicle and drove several miles away from campus. Patterson pointed a firearm at R.W. and extracted approximately $300 from R.W.


A. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 provides that "the court on the defendant's motion must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction." Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(a). Such a motion is permitted after trial, in which case the court may set aside the verdict and enter a judgment of acquittal. Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c). It is well-settled that jury verdicts are not lightly overturned. See, e.g., United States v. Peneaux, 432 F.3d 882, 890 (8th Cir. 2005); United States v. Stroh, 176 F.3d 439, 440 (8th Cir. 1999). The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the government and give the government the benefit of all reasonable inferences. United States v. Peters, 462 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 2006). The court must uphold the jury's verdict so long as a reasonable-minded jury could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. Moreover, the court "must uphold the jury's verdict even where the evidence rationally supports two conflicting hypotheses' of guilt and innocence." Id. (quoting United States v. Serrano-Lopez, 366 F.3d 628, 634 (8th Cir. 2004)). It is not the province of the court to evaluate the credibility of witnesses-that task is for the jury. United States v. Hayes, 391 F.3d 958, 961 (8th Cir. 2004).

B. Analysis [1]

In his Brief in Support of the Motion, Defendant argues that he is entitled to a judgment of acquittal because the Indictment and Superseding Indictment failed to allege all the necessary elements constituting the offense of kidnapping because it did not include the language "for ransom or reward or otherwise." In response, the government argues that "[t]he any purpose' language is implicit in the current indictment... [because] [o]ne cannot knowing[ly] and willfully hold... an individual without a purpose." Resistance at 4. Neither Defendant nor the government have provided the ...

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