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United States v. Arkinson

United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division

January 18, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
GABRIEL ELIJAH KANE ARKINSON, a/k/a Daniel Elijahkane Arkinson, JAMIE NICOLE MILSTEN, and MELISSA DAWN SHURTLIFF Defendants.

          ORDER

          CHARLEZ C. LOVEL, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is "Defendant Milsten's Rule 29(c) Motion to Set Aside the Verdict and Enter a Judgment of Acquittal" as to Counts II and III of the Indictment. (Doc. 150). The United States opposes the motion. The Court has reviewed the record in its entirety and is prepared to rule.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Grand Jury charged Defendant Milsten with conspiracy to commit robbery affecting commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count I), with robbery affecting commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count II) and with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(2) (Count III). Defendant Milsten was also charged in Counts II and III with aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2 and under a Pinkerton liability theory.

         On October 3, 2018, at the close of the government's evidence, Defendant Milsten made a Rule 29 Motion for Judgment of Acquittal as to all three counts of the Indictment, which was denied. Defendant Milsten renewed her motion after all the parties had rested, later that day, and the Court denied the renewed motion. On October 4, 2018, a unanimous jury found Defendant Milsten guilty of all three counts charged in the Indictment. Now before the Court is Defendant's timely-filed renewed Motion for Judgment of Acquittal as to Counts II and III of the Indictment, which is again opposed by the government.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The familiar standard for deciding a motion for acquittal, as articulated in Jackson v. Virginia, requires this Court to determine whether, "after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." 443 U.S. 307, 319 (l979)(emphasis in original). In making this determination, this Court neither resolves credibility issues nor weighs the evidence, as those are questions for the jury. United States v. Burns, 701 F.2d 840, 842 (9th Cir. 1983).

         DISCUSSION - COUNT II

         The jury convicted Defendant Milsten of Count II, robbery affecting commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). The parties submitted a joint instruction as to the essential elements of that crime and the following instruction was given to the jury:

         In order for a defendant to be found guilty of that charge, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

         First, the defendant knowingly obtained money or property from or in the presence of Patrick Lovett;

         Second, the defendant did so by means of robbery;

         Third, the defendant believed that Patrick Lovett parted with the money or ...


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