United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. Navarro, Chief Judge
before the Court is Defendant Todd C. Engel's
(“Defendant's”) Motion for New Trial, (ECF
No. 3183). The Government filed a Response, (ECF No. 3198),
and Defendant filed a Reply, (ECF No. 3204). Additionally,
the Government filed a Sur-Reply, (Ex. A to Motion for Leave
to File, ECF No. 3210-1). For the following reasons, the Court
denies Defendant's Motion.
March 2, 2016, a federal grand jury sitting in the District
of Nevada returned a Superseding Indictment charging nineteen
defendants with sixteen counts related to a confrontation on
April 12, 2014, with Bureau of Land Management
(“BLM”) Officers in Bunkerville, Nevada. (ECF No.
27). Defendant was grouped with Tier 3 defendants and was
part of the first group of defendants that went to trial.
(Order, ECF No. 1098). At the conclusion of Defendant's
trial, the jury found Defendant guilty of Count Twelve,
Obstruction of the Due Administration of Justice, and Count
Sixteen, Interstate Travel in Aid of Extortion. (Jury
Verdict, ECF No. 1903).
to Defendant's trial, the Tier 1 defendants proceeded to
trial. (Order, ECF No. 1098). On December 20, 2017, the Court
declared a mistrial for the Tier 1 defendants, finding that
the Government's failure to disclose evidence to the Tier
1 defendants resulted in numerous Brady violations.
(Mins. of Proceedings, ECF No. 3041). Following the
Court's declaration of mistrial, the Court found that
dismissal with prejudice was necessary. (Mins. of
Proceedings, ECF No. 3116).
instant Motion, Defendant requests that the Court vacate his
conviction and grant a new trial on the grounds that his
trial “was the product of numerous Brady [sic]
violations, prosecutorial misconduct, withholding exculpatory
evidence, and in the alternative may not be maintained under
the plain language of the statues upon which the charges are
based.” (Mot. for New Trial 2:5-13, ECF No. 3183).
Rule of Criminal Procedure 33 provides, “[u]pon the
defendant's motion, the court may vacate any judgment and
grant a new trial if the interest of justice so
requires.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 33(a). A motion for new
trial based on new or newly discovery evidence must be filed
within three years after the verdict. Fed. R. Crim. P.
33(b)(1). Although determining whether to grant a motion for
a new trial is left to the district court's discretion,
“it should be granted only in exceptional cases in
which the evidence preponderates heavily against the
verdict.” United States v. Pimentel, 654 F.2d
538, 545 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal quotation omitted).
Moreover, the defendant bears the burden of persuasion.
United States v. Endicott, 869 F.2d 452, 454 (9th
defendant who seeks a new trial based on new or newly
discovered evidence must show that (1) the evidence is newly
discovered; (2) the failure to discover the evidence is not
attributable to a lack of diligence by the defendant; (3) the
evidence is material to the issues at trial; (4) the evidence
is neither cumulative nor impeaching; and (5) the evidence
indicates that a new trial would probably result in an
acquittal.” United States v. Waggoner, 339
F.3d 915, 919 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v.
Jackson, 209 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 2000)).
“Evidence will not be deemed ‘newly
discovered' simply because it appears in a different
light under a new theory. [A] party who desires to present
his case under a different theory in which facts available at
the original trial now first become important, will not be
granted a new trial.” United States v.
Hamling, 525 F.2d 758, 759 (9th Cir. 1975).
argues that the charges he was convicted of at trial cannot
be sustained based on the statutes' requirements. (Mot.
for New Trial 8:1-2, ECF No. 3183). Specifically, Defendant
claims that the facts do not support a conviction under Count
Twelve charging Obstruction of the Due Administration of
Justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1503 because
“the execution of a court order is not included in the
clear and explicit language of the statute, . . . none of the
officers, agents, or law enforcement officers, present that
day or involved with the matter were the persons identified
by the statute, ” and “none of the alleged
victims were, or are the parties which were meant to be
protected by the statute.” (Id. 9:1-8).
Additionally, Defendant argues that his conviction under
Count Sixteen charging Interstate Travel in Aid of Extortion
in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1952, “specifically
relates to an intent to commit any crime of violence to
further any unlawful activity, which was never proven at
trial.” (Id. 9:25-26).
Court finds that Defendant's arguments regarding
insufficient evidence are time-barred. Pursuant to Federal
Rule of Criminal Procedure 33, “[a]ny motion for a new
trial grounded on any reason other than newly discovered
evidence must be filed within 14 days after the verdict or
finding of guilty.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 33(b)(2);
see Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c)(1) (“A defendant
may move for a judgment of acquittal, or renew such a motion,
within 14 days after a guilty verdict or after the court
discharges the jury, whichever is later.”). Here, the
jury returned its verdict on April 24, 2017, and more than
nine months later Defendant filed the instant Motion on
February 8, 2018. (See Jury Verdict, ECF No. 1903).
Accordingly, Defendant's arguments regarding insufficient
evidence are untimely.