Earlier this month, firm partner David S. Nenner secured a judgement of acquittal in a Philadelphia criminal case on June, 5, 2015. Mr. Nenner’s client was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, various gun charges, and fleeing police officers. The case proceeded to trial with Mr. Nenner’s client and two co-defendants.
The prosecution alleged that Mr. Nenner’s client was involved in an alleged robbery with his two co-defendants and shot at police officers during a subsequent car chase. Evidence was presented that one or two shots were fired from the front seat passenger during the car chase. The client was a back seat passenger.
After the alleged shots were fired, the two passengers exited the car and ran. They were chased by police officers. Later, three semiautomatic pistols were found under the two passenger defendants. The driver of the car continued driving, eventually running it into a neighborhood home. He was apprehended and arrested.
After the prosecution’s case in chief, Mr. Nenner moved for a judgement of acquittal on all charges except for two gun possession offenses. The trial court granted Mr. Nenner’s motions. Of the two remaining charges, the most serious gun offense is a felony in the third degree.
Related News: David S. Nenner Wins Motion to Suppress in a Philadelphia Drug Case – Prosecution Withdrawn
JUDGEMENT OF ACQUITTAL (AKA DIRECTED VERDICT) IN PHILADELPHIA CRIMINAL CASES
A motion for judgement of acquittal is made at the end of the prosecution’s case, i.e., after the prosecution rests. The motion is also made at the conclusion of the defense’s case, if any. This preserves a defendant’s appellate right to argue that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction.
In considering a motion for judgement of acquittal, the trial court evaluates all of the prosecution’s evidence and determines whether a reasonable person could find the defendant guilty of each charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Basically, the question is whether the Commonwealth has presented sufficient evidence of the crime. It is important to note that it is fairly rare for a trial judge to grant a motion for judgement of acquittal. However, these motions are successful when the prosecution fails to present evidence of each element of the crime.
More: Constitutional Rights in Philadelphia Criminal Drug & Gun Cases – The 4th Amendment
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