United States District Court, D. Colorado
A. BRIMMER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendant Geoffrey Ward
Mansfield's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal under Fed.
R. Crim. P. 29 and 45 [Docket No. 83].
February 21, 2019, a jury found defendant guilty of knowingly
possessing a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Docket No. 63; see
also Docket No. 64 at 18. The Court instructed the
jury that it could find defendant guilty if it determined the
government had proved the following elements beyond a
First: on or about July 31, 2017, the defendant
knowingly possessed a firearm;
Second: the defendant was convicted of a felony,
that is, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term
exceeding one year, before he possessed the firearm; and
Third: before the defendant possessed the firearm,
the firearm had moved at some time from one state to another.
Docket No. 64 at 18. Pursuant to a stipulation entered into
by the parties before trial, see Docket Nos. 27, 30,
50, the Court further instructed:
The parties stipulate that, prior to July 31, 2017, the
defendant was convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment
for a term exceeding one year. Therefore, you must consider
the second element of Count One as having been proved beyond
a reasonable doubt.
Docket No. 64 at 18.
defendant's conviction, but before sentencing, the
Supreme Court decided Rehaif v. United States, 139
S.Ct. 2191 (2019), in which it held that, to obtain a
conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) or § 924(a)(2),
the government “must prove both that the defendant knew
he possessed a firearm and that he knew he belonged to the
relevant category of persons barred from possessing a
firearm.” Id. at 2200. On July 26, 2019,
defendant moved for judgment of acquittal arguing that the
evidence presented at trial was insufficient to convict
defendant under the standard announced in Rehaif.
See Docket No. 83. The government filed a response to
the motion on August 5, 2019, Docket No. 87, to which
defendant replied on August 9, 2019. Docket No. 88.
moves for judgment of acquittal under Fed. R. Crim. P. 29. In
considering defendant's motion, the Court views the
evidence “in the light most favorable to the
government, and without weighing conflicting evidence or
considering the credibility of witnesses, determine[s]
whether that evidence, if believed, would establish each
element of the crime.” United States v.
Fuller, 751 F.3d 1150, 1153 (10th Cir. 2014) (quotations
omitted). The Court may enter a judgment of acquittal
“only if the evidence that defendant committed the
crime is nonexistent or so meager that no reasonable jury
could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Id. (quotations omitted).
argues that he is entitled to judgment of acquittal because
the evidence presented by the government at trial was
insufficient to prove that he knew he was a convicted felon
at the time he possessed the firearm. Docket No. 83 at 2-3.
In response, the government appears to concede that
defendant's conviction must be vacated in light of
Rehaif, but argues that a retrial is permitted under
the Double Jeopardy Clause because defendant's
sufficiency-of-the-evidence challenge must be evaluated
according to the standard of proof that existed at the time
of trial. See Docket No. 87 at 3-7. Alternatively,