The Champion

January 2009 , Page 43 

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Practice Points

By John Balazs

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Rule 29: A Nuts and Bolts Guide to Judgments of Acquittal

A successful motion under Fed. R. Crim. P. 29 for judgment of acquittal is the equivalent to winning a not guilty verdict and bars the government from retrying your client. But the rule has a few counterintuitive traps that can snare a careless attorney, especially one used to state court practice where the rules can be quite different. This article is designed as a practical guide to making and successfully litigating Rule 29 motions and to avoiding potential land mines.

The Test

The standard for evaluating a Rule 29 motion is the same as the standard used in evaluating whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict: whether viewing all the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, any rational jury could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.1 On appeal, the court will uphold a conviction if the evidence, including evidence that was erroneously admitted, was sufficient to sustain the verdi

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