United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division
CHARLES C. LOVELL SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant's "Post-Trial Motion for
Judgment of Acquittal Under Rule 29(c) Fed. R. Crim. P."
(Doc. 84). The United States opposes the motion. The Court
has reviewed the record in its entirety and is prepared to
April 4, 2019, the United States filed a criminal complaint
charging Mr. Knapp with being a "Prohibited Person in
Possession of a Firearm" in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(g)(1). Magistrate Judge Lynch issued an arrest
warrant and Mr. Knapp appeared before Magistrate Judge Lynch
that day. Mr. Knapp was represented at his initial appearance
by Andy Nelson of the Federal Defender's Office and Ms.
Hunt was appointed to represent him for future proceedings.
Magistrate Judge Lynch released Mr. Knapp, subject to certain
1, 2019, a grand jury indictment was filed, charging Mr.
Knapp with one count of "Prohibited Person in Possession
of a Firearm" in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1). The Court set trial for June 17, 2019.
28, Defendant filed a motion to continue all pretrial
deadlines on behalf of her client. Her motion was based on
her need to obtain information from the State of Colorado
regarding the felony convictions that served as the basis for
the charge against her client. The Court convened a telephone
conference with counsel for both parties to discuss the need
to set a new trial date and the parties agreed that they
could be prepared for trial on September 3, 2019. The Court
issued an order the same day setting trial for September 3,
2019, and extending other pretrial deadlines.
21, 2019, the Court granted Ms. Hunt's second motion to
continue the pretrial deadlines, extending the motions
deadline until June 27, 2019. The Court did not continue the
trial or change the August 16, 2019, plea agreement deadline.
21, 2019, the United States Supreme Court held that to
convict a defendant of being a prohibited person in
possession of a firearm, the United States "must show
that the defendant knew he possessed a firearm and also that
he knew he had the relevant status when he possessed
it." Rehaifv. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2191,
27, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment
against him. The government opposed the motion, and the Court
entered its order denying the motion to dismiss on July 25,
2019. Recognizing the potential impact of the Rehaif
decision as to the essential elements of the charged crime,
the Court asked the parties to submit briefs and proposed
jury instructions as to the "knowing" element on or
before August 16, 2019.
August 13, 2019, the parties filed a joint motion to waive
the grand jury indictment and allow the government to proceed
by superseding information. The Court heard and granted the
motion on August 21, 2019. On August 22, 2019, the Court
entered an order resetting trial for October 22, 2019, the
date agreed upon during the August 21, 2019, hearing.
October 22, 2019, at the close of the government's
evidence, Defendant made a Rule 29 Motion for Judgment of
Acquittal as to the superseding information, which was
denied. Defendant renewed his motion after both parties had
rested, later that day, and the Court denied the renewed
motion. On October 23, 2018, a unanimous jury found Defendant
guilty of being a prohibited person in possession of a
firearm as charged in the superseding information. Now before
the Court is Defendant's timely-filed renewed motion for
judgment of acquittal as to the single count of the
superseding information, which motion is again opposed by 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 ...