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United States v. Carstens

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

November 20, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ROBERT M. CARSTENS, JR

OPINION

OPINION AND ORDER

Paul R. Cherry, Magistrate Judge.

On July 26, 2013, the United States of America appeared by counsel Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas Padilla and Dean Lanter. Defendant Robert M. Carstens, Jr. appeared in person and by counsel Scott King.

A Bench Trial was begun on three violation citations issued on March 21, 2012, by the United States Department of Interior National Park Service against Defendant Robert M. Carstens, Jr. The U.S. Government

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presented evidence in its case-in-chief, then rested its presentation of evidence. The parties agree that the primary issue in these combined matters is jurisdictional -- whether the National Park Service Rangers had legal authority to enforce federal regulations against Carstens, and issue violation citations against him, given the locations where the alleged violations took place.

Prior to the presentation of evidence by Defendant Carstens in his case-in-chief, the parties agreed, and the Court ordered, that Carstens be permitted to file a written Motion For Judgment Of Acquittal with briefing to follow. On September 13, 2013, Carstens filed his Defendant's Motion For Acquittal. On October 18, 2013, the United States Government filed its Amended Response Of United States To Defendant's Motion To Dismiss At The Close Of The Government's Case. The Court ordered that no reply be filed.

In determination of the issues the Court FINDS, ORDERS, ADJUDGES, and DECREES:

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

1. On March 21, 2012, the United States of America Department of Interior National Park Service issued three citations to Defendant Robert M. Carstens, Jr., alleging the following violations of federal law:

1) Citation 3111101 - Operating A Vehicle Off Designated Route;
2) Citation 3111102 - Launching A Water Craft At An Unauthorized Launch Site;
3) Citation 3111103 - Operating A Personal Water Craft Where Prohibited (not in issue for purposes of the Defendant's Motion For Acquittal).

2. On June 15, 2012, an Initial Appearance was held at which Carstens pled not guilty to the three charges.

3. On June 14, 2013, a Bench Trial was scheduled for July 26, 2013.

4. On July 26, 2013, a Bench Trial was begun. The United States Government presented evidence, then rested. Upon close of the Government's presentation of evidence, the parties agreed, and the Court ordered, that Carstens be permitted to file a written Motion For Judgment Of Acquittal, with briefing to follow, and with the Bench Trial to be in recess until ruling on the Motion.

5. On September 13, 2013, Carstens filed his Defendant's Motion For Acquittal as to Citations 3111101 and 3111102.

6. On October 17, 2013, the Government filed its Response of United States to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss at the Close of the Government's Case; on October 18, 2013, the Government filed its Amended Response (correcting a typographical error).

7. No reply brief was permitted by the Court.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

8. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(a) provides, in part: " After the government closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence, the court on the defendant's motion must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction."

9. The standard of review in this case is whether the government's evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction.

10. In making this determination, the court is to view the evidence in a light most favorable to the Government and ...


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