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United States v. Montgomery

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

May 17, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARC A. MONTGOMERY, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER [RESOLVING DOCS. 44, 45, 47, 50]

          JAMES S. GWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On February 15, 2017, Defendant Marc A. Montgomery was charged with Aiding and Abetting Armed Bank Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), (d), and 2 (Count 1), and Aiding and Abetting Brandishing, Carrying, or Using a Firearm During and In Relation to a Crime of Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Count 2).[1]

         The case was tried before a jury April 10-11, 2017. At the close of the Government's case, Defendant Montgomery moved for judgment of acquittal.[2] The Court granted in part[3] and otherwise reserved its decision until after the jury returned a verdict.[4]

         On April 11, 2017, the jury found Defendant Montgomery guilty on Counts 1 and 2.[5] On April 13, 2017, the Court denied Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal.[6]

         Defendant Montgomery now moves pro se for a new trial.[7] For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33 states that the Court may “grant a new trial if the interest of justice so requires.”[8] Sixth Circuit precedent accords broad discretion to the trial judge in determining whether to grant such a motion.[9] Precedent commands, however, that “[t]he Court should exercise such discretion only in the extraordinary circumstances where the evidence preponderates heavily against the verdict.”[10]

         In deciding a Rule 33 motion for acquittal or a new trial, the Court may act in the role as a “thirteenth juror” in assessing the credibility of the witnesses and the weight of the evidence to insure no miscarriage of justice occurs.[11]

         II. DISCUSSION

         The charges against Defendant Montgomery stemmed from his role as a getaway driver after a November 30, 2016, armed bank robbery on in Garfield Heights, Ohio. Montgomery's childhood friend, Levert Bates, committed the robbery. Bates pled guilty to the bank robbery.

         Montgomery argues the Court should grant him a new trial because there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict.[12] Citing the jury instructions, he states that “proof that [he] may have known about the crime, even if he was there when it was committed is not enough for [the jury] to [have found] him guilty.”[13]

         This Court previously denied Montgomery's motion for a directed verdict.[14]

         The Court finds sufficient circumstantial evidence that Defendant Montgomery aided and abetted armed bank robbery. The weakest point in the Government's case was whether Defendant Montgomery intended-beyond a reasonable doubt-to aid the robbery.

         The Government presented evidence that Defendant Montgomery was present outside the bank prior to the robbery when Bates was surveying the bank[15] and drove Bates back to ...


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