United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is defendant Maria Larkin's motion for
judgment of acquittal. (ECF No. 318). The government filed a
response (ECF No. 319), to which Larkin did not reply.
November 16, 2016, the government filed a second superseding
indictment, charging Larkin with tax evasion, in violation of
21 U.S.C. § 7201. (ECF No. 135).
conclusion of a seven-day jury trial, the jury found Lark
guilty of the offense of tax evasion as charged in count one
of the second superseding indictment. (ECF No. 313).
instant motion, Larkin moves for a judgment of acquittal
pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(c). (ECF
defendant may move for a judgment of acquittal, or renew such
a motion, within fourteen days after a guilty verdict. Fed.
R. Crim. P. 29(c). Such a motion is reviewed for sufficiency
of the evidence. United States v. Stoddard, 150 F.3d
1140, 1144 (9th Cir. 1988).
standard of review for determining the sufficiency of the
evidence 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.” United States v.
Inzunza, 638 F.3d 1006, 1013 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (citing Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318 (1979) (explaining that
“the critical inquiry” is “whether the
record evidence could reasonably support a finding of guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt”)).
district court must bear in mind that it is the exclusive
function of the jury to determine the credibility of
witnesses, resolve evidentiary conflicts, and draw reasonable
inferences from proven facts.” United States v.
Alarcon-Simi, 300 F.3d 1172, 1176 (9th Cir. 2002).
“Circumstantial evidence and inferences drawn from it
may be sufficient to sustain a conviction.” United
States v. Reyes-Alvarado, 963 F.2d 1184, 1188 (9th Cir.
United States v. Kayser, the Ninth Circuit set forth
the elements of attempted tax evasion under 26 U.S.C. §
as follows: (1) willfulness; (2) the existence of a tax
deficiency; and (3) an affirmative act constituting an
evasion or attempted evasion of the tax. 488 F.3d 1070, 1073
(9th Cir. 2007) (citing Sansone v. United States,
380 U.S. 343, 351 (1965); United States v. Marashi,
913 F.2d 724, 735 (9th Cir. 1990)).
instant motion, Larkin asserts that the trial evidence was
insufficient to prove she willfully attempted to evade and
defeat the payment of trust fund recovery penalties by
committing the alleged affirmative acts of evasion. (ECF No.
318 at 3). Larkin contends that no rational trier of fact
could find elements (1) and (3), or the requisite specific
intent, beyond a reasonable doubt, based on the evidence at
trial. (ECF No. 318 at 4).
as construed by our prior decisions in criminal tax cases,
requires the Government to prove that the law imposed a duty
on the defendant, that the defendant knew of this duty, and
that [s]he voluntarily and intentionally violated that
duty.” Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192,
201 (1991). This same definition applies equally to all tax
offenses, misdemeanors and felonies alike. Un ...