United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
LINDA R. READE, Chief District Judge.
The matter before the court is Defendant Donald Boman's "Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal; Alternatively Motion to Vacate Judgment and for a New Trial" ("Motion") (docket no. 60).
II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
On March 18, 2014, a grand jury returned a one-count Superseding Indictment (docket no. 23) against Defendant. The Superseding Indictment charged that Defendant unlawfully possessed a firearm and ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). The Superseding Indictment also contained a forfeiture allegation.
On April 15, 2014, a jury trial commenced on the Superseding Indictment. On April 16, 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 Criminal Procedure 29, which the court denied. See April 16, 2014 Minute Entry (docket no. 50). On April 17, 2014, the jury returned a guilty verdict on the Superseding Indictment. See Jury Verdict (docket no. 54).
On April 30, 2014, Defendant filed the Motion, requesting that the court grant a judgment of acquittal or a new trial. On May 12, 2014, the government filed a Resistance (docket no. 61). The matter is fully submitted and ready for decision.
III. RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND
The trial evidence established that the gun and ammunition at issue were purchased with Defendant's credit card. Law enforcement officers testified at trial that they found the gun and the ammunition in a bedroom that Defendant shared with his girlfriend. Law enforcement officers discovered Defendant's fingerprints on the ammunition. The government also presented an audio recording of Defendant in which he admitted to touching the gun.
The government also presented evidence that Defendant and Marcus Brown argued on the street outside Defendant's home. One witness testified that she saw a black man near a bicycle across the street from Defendant's home yell "do it nigga, do it nigga" and, soon thereafter, a tall black man ran from the direction of Defendant's home, knocked down the man who was near the bicycle and pointed his hand at the man near the bicycle. Some witnesses testified that they heard a loud noise consistent with a single gunshot. Immediately following the gunshot, Marcus Brown and his girlfriend, Cheyenne Cinkan, called 911 and spoke with the 911 operator. Officers were called to the scene and searched Defendant's home, where they found a gun and ammunition. The ammunition was contained in two boxes and each box was equipped to carry fifty rounds of ammunition. One box contained the full fifty rounds, while the other box contained 40 rounds. Officers found nine rounds in the two magazines located in the gun, but officers could not account for one round of ammunition.
IV. MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL
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).
Defendant's entire argument that he is entitled to a judgment of acquittal is contained in one sentence: "While the government presented some evidence, it failed to introduce sufficient evidence to convict the ...