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United States v. Jefferson

December 16, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIE RAY JEFFERSON, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge United States District Court

Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendant Willie Ray Jefferson (hereinafter, "Jefferson") was convicted after a jury trial of robbing an armored car with a firearm. The evidence presented to the jury included the testimony of Abimael Jaimez (hereinafter, "Jaimez"), the armored car driver who was the victim of the robbery, including Jaimez's eyewitness identification of Jefferson as one of the perpetrators. Also presented to the jury was the testimony of FBI Agents Hill ("Hill") and Marsh("Marsh"), including Marsh's testimony that Jefferson had confessed to the robbery in his presence, and surveillance video and still images of the robbery. Jefferson was present at trial but did not testify.

Jefferson now brings three separate motions: a motion for production, a motion for acquittal, and a motion for a new trial. The Court examines each motion in turn.

I. MOTION FOR PRODUCTION

Jefferson asks the Court to enter an order requiring the Government to produce investigative reports authored by Agent Marsh between January 2007 and October 2008, after Marsh began working on the case but before Jefferson's arrest. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(1)(E) requires the Government to produce to the defendant, among other things, any documents within the Government's control that are material to preparing the defense or that the Government intends to use in its case-in-chief.

Here, Jefferson does not identify any reports that the Government used at trial but failed to produce. Instead, Jefferson maintains that Marsh's reports could have been material to preparing his defense if they "contained information as to . . . the second offender who [the victim] identified as the individual whom he saw two weeks after the offense exiting a car with a purported female employee of the bank."

As an initial matter, Jefferson's argument that Marsh's reports may have contained information relevant to his defense is wholly speculative. Jefferson does not identify any reports authored by Marsh that the Government even failed to produce, let alone any such reports that would have aided his defense. Moreover, the Government asserts that it has already tendered to Jefferson all of Agent Marsh's reports "concerning witnesses . . . who provided evidence concerning the defendant's role in the armored car robbery." Accordingly, Jefferson's Motion for Production is denied.

II. MOTIONS FOR ACQUITTAL AND A NEW TRIAL

Jefferson seeks a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 on the basis that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to convict him. He also seeks a new trial pursuant to Rule 33 based on several purported errors of the Court.

A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

Jefferson seeks a judgment of acquittal based on the insufficiency of the evidence presented to the jury. To succeed on a Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal, a defendant must show that there was insufficient evidence presented at trial from which any rational jury could have found guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. United States v. Presbitero, 569 F.3d 691, 704 (7th Cir., 2009). The Court will not second-guess the jury in terms of judging the credibility of witnesses or assessing the evidence, see United States v. Rollins, 544 F.3d 820, 835 (7th Cir., 2008), and the jury's verdict will only be set aside where "the record contains no evidence, regardless of how it is weighed," from which a jury could have returned a conviction, United States v. Moses, 513 F.3d 727, 733 (7th Cir., 2008).

Here, the robbery victim, Abimael Jaimez, testified at trial that he positively identified Jefferson as one of the robbers. The Government also presented surveillance video of the robbery, which enabled the jury to draw its own conclusion whether Jefferson, who was present at trial, appeared on the recording. Moreover, Agent Marsh testified about Jefferson's post-arrest confession (at which Marsh was present) in which Jefferson admitted to committing the robbery. Although Jefferson's statement was not recorded, he signed a written waiver of his Miranda rights indicating that he agreed to answer the agents' questions and that waiver was presented to the jury at trial. Ultimately, it was for the jury to determine whether Agent Marsh's ...


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