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State Court Procedures Regarding Pre-Verdict Judgments of Acquittal and the State's Right to Appeal Those Judgments

Laural L. Hooper, Marie Leary
September 30, 2003
Available Online Only

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed amending Rule 29 to preserve the government's right to appeal a trial court's decision to grant a motion for judgment of acquittal. DOJ argues, "Rule 29 as currently constituted represents an anomaly within the Rules and indeed within the judicial system." 

To help inform the debate, the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States asked the Federal Judicial Center to conduct a study of state laws that allow the trial judge to grant a motion for a judgment of acquittal prior to the case's submission to the jury. Specifically, the Committee wanted to know (1) whether a state judge may enter a judgment of acquittal before a jury verdict, and (2) whether the prosecution may appeal from judgments of acquittal directed by the trial judge prior to submission of the case to the jury.