Acquittal of Charges in a Criminal Case  

                A recent case in Muskingum County, Ohio (  )highlights the importance of experienced trial counsel when you are facing criminal charges. Arguing that the State of Ohio had not met the requisite burden of proof, as Counsel for the Defendant, I argued for a Rule 29 Motion which was granted.

In this case, my client was facing charges of: Attempted Murder, in violation of ORC 2923.02(A), Felonious Assault, in violation of 2903.11(A)(1), Aggravated Robbery, in violation of 2911.01, and Having Weapons Under Disability, in violation of 2923.13(A)(2).

Simply put, the successful motion meant that based upon the evidence, the testimony, and arguments presented by the prosecutor, the judge found the evidence was inadequate to prove the elements of those charges. Because of that ruling, my client was acquitted on two of the four counts before we even presented the defense.

What is a Rule 29 Motion?

                Ohio’s Criminal Rule 29 (A) is a motion filed by the defense or by the court, after all the evidence has been presented by the prosecutor. If the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction on a charge, the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure allow the court to order a judgment of acquittal. This can occur only after the prosecutor has rested their case and will be granted only when the government’s evidence is too weak for a jury to find the defendant guilty of the offense.

The burden of proof is always on the government. The prosecution must prove that the defendant has committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt” to sustain a conviction. That, in turn, means that the defendant does not have to prove they are not guilty of the crime. The Rule 29 Motion allows the court to look at the evidence that has been presented at the trial and determine if that would be enough to meet all the elements of a crime.

Every charge has different elements that must be proven. Those elements include specific acts, mental states, or even motivations. If each and every element has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the court shall order an entry of a judgment of acquittal at the close of the state’s case, upon motion by the defense or by the court.

Do you have questions about your case? If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, contact an experienced trial lawyer, Joseph Edwards. He offers a no-cost initial consultation and practices in both the state and federal courts in Ohio.

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