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United States v. Cano

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

May 30, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JUAN CARLOS CANO, Defendant.

          ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, NEW TRIAL TABLE OF CONTENTS

          MARK W. BENNETT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ............................................................. 2

         II. LEGAL ANALYSIS ................................................................................................. 2

         A. Motion For Judgment of Acquittal .............................................................. 2

         1. Standards ........................................................................................... 2

         2. Analysis .............................................................................................. 4

         a. Residence ................................................................................ 4

         b. Employment ............................................................................ 7

         c. Evidence at trial ...................................................................... 8

         B. Motion For New Trial ................................................................................ 10

         1. Standards ......................................................................................... 10

         2. Analysis ............................................................................................ 11

         III. CONCLUSION ...................................................................................................... 11

         I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

         On March 9, 2017, defendant Juan Carlos Cano was convicted, following a jury trial, of failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). Cano moved for an acquittal, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(a), at the close of the prosecution's case. I denied his motion. Cano then moved for an acquittal at the close of all evidence. I again denied his motion. Presently before me is Cano's Renewed Motion for Judgment of Acquittal and Motion for New Trial (docket no. 85).

         Cano argues for a judgment of acquittal on the ground that there was insufficient evidence introduced at trial to support his conviction on the charged offense. Alternatively, Cano requests that I use my “greater” discretion to grant him a new trial. The prosecution has filed a timely resistance to Cano's motion. The prosecution contends that the evidence introduced at trial, when viewed in the light most favorable to the guilty verdict and granting all reasonable inferences supported by that evidence, supports the jury's finding Cano guilty of the charged offense. With respect to Cano's alternative request for a new trial, the prosecution argues that the jury's verdict must be allowed to stand because the evidence does not weigh against it. Cano did not file a reply brief.

         II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

         A. Motion For Judgment of Acquittal

         1. Standards

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 governs Cano's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal. Rule 29(a) provides: “After the government closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence, 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). When the defendant moves for judgment of acquittal after the prosecution rests,

[t]he court may reserve decision on the motion, proceed with the trial (where the motion is made before the close of all the evidence), submit the case to the jury, and decide the motion either before the jury returns a verdict or after it returns a verdict ...

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