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United States v. Pearson

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 25, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
D-3, SHAWN PEARSON, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT SHAWN PEARSON'S RENEWED MOTION FOR JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR A NEW TRIAL (ECF # 142)

          MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On February 14, 2017, a jury found Defendant Shawn Pearson (“Pearson”) guilty of three counts of interference with commerce by robbery and three counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. (See ECF #132.) Pearson has now filed a renewed motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, for a new trial (the “Motion”). (See ECF #142.) For the reasons explained below, the Motion is DENIED.

         I

         Pearson first contends that under Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, he is entitled to a judgment of acquittal because the Government's evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. (See Mot., ECF #142 at Pg. ID 660-62.) In this context, “the relevant question is 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 crime beyond a reasonable doubt.” Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979) (emphasis in original). “A convicted defendant bears ‘a very heavy burden' to show that the government's evidence was insufficient.” United States v. Tragas, 727 F.3d 610, 617 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting United States v. Kernell, 667 F.3d 746, 756 (6th Cir. 2012)).

         Pearson insists that “the government failed to introduce any reliable evidence” to support his conviction. (Mot., ECF #142 at Pg. ID 661.) The Court disagrees. The only disputed issue at trial was identification, and the Government presented ample evidence that Pearson was the person who committed the charged offenses (along with others).

         More specifically, the Government presented testimony from Kiara Hobbs (“Hobbs”), one of Pearson's accomplices in all of the charged offenses. Hobbs implicated Pearson in every charged robbery and tied him to the knowing and intentional use and carrying of firearms in connection with those robberies. Hobbs' testimony, standing alone, would almost certainly have been sufficient to support Pearson's conviction. But the Government offered more. Much more.

         The Government supplemented Hobbs' testimony with evidence that:

● Pearson admitted possessing a Glock pistol during the time period in which two of the robberies were committed. An expert in the examination of firearms and ammunition testified that a fired bullet and shell casing recovered at the scene of one of those robberies matched the Glock pistol that Pearson admitted possessing;
● An employee of Dollar General - the store that Pearson and others robbed - testified that one of the robbers had a tattoo on his hand/arm. Pearson has a tattoo on his hand/arm;
● Ninety minutes after one of the robberies, Pearson and his co-defendant posted to Facebook a photo of themselves and the other members of the alleged robbery team posing with cash;
● Cell cite analysis placed Pearson's cell phone in the general vicinity of each robbery around the time of each robbery; and
● Pearson's own Facebook posts confirmed Pearson's connections to the other members of the robbery team

         All of this evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the Government, was more than sufficient to establish that Pearson was one of the individuals who committed the charged offenses. Therefore, Pearson is not ...


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