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U.S. v. SOW

United States District Court, Southern District of New York


March 27, 2003

UNITED STATES,
v.
MOHAMMED SOW DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Laura Taylor Swain, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Defendant Mohammed Sow ("Defendant") moves the Court for a judgment of acquittal on the Indictment pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Defendant was convicted of trafficking in counterfeit labels to be affixed to copyrighted C. D. recordings in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 2318. Defendant argues that "the Government did not prove to the reasonable juror standard that defendant was involved with the C. D. labels introduced as evidence at trial" and that "the Government did not establish that the C.D. labels seized were to be affixed to C.D. recordings which were copyrighted, as opposed to non-copyrighted music." Seidler Letter, dated February 12, 2003.

In considering a motion for judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29, the Court views the trial evidence, as it existed at the time the motion was interposed, in the light most favorable to the Government. See United States v. Guadagna, 183 F.3d 122, 129 (2d Cir. 1999). All permissible inferences must be drawn in favor of the Government, and the Court should avoid usurping the role of the jury. Id. "[U]pon a motion for judgment of acquittal, `the Court must determine whether upon the evidence, giving full play to the right of the jury to determine credibility, weigh the evidence, and draw justifiable inferences of fact, a reasonable mind might fairly conclude guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.'" Id. (quoting Curley v. United States, 160 F.2d 229, 232 (D.C.Cir. 1947)). "[I]f the court `concludes that either of the two results, a reasonable doubt or no reasonable doubt, is fairly possible, [the court] must let the jury decide the matter.'" Id. (quoting Curley, 160 F.2d at 233)).

The evidence produced by the Government was sufficient to permit the jury to find the Defendant guilty of the charge against him beyond a reasonable doubt. The proof offered by the Government at trial was sufficient to establish that the Defendant participated in trafficking, copying and selling counterfeit C.D. labels for copyrighted audio compact discs. (See Tr. at, e.g., 46-51, 60-61, 141-49, 301, 328-39, 430-31, 438-40.) Specifically, the Government offered evidence that the Defendant owned and operated at least four copy shops and sold counterfeit C.D. labels for copyrighted audio compact discs from these stores. The Government showed that a copyright existed as to the 11 albums that appeared on the 11 labels seized by the Government from Defendant's 121st Street store. (See Tr. at 71-75, 127-29.) For these reasons and those set forth in the Government's March 3, 2003 letter, Defendant's Rule 29 motion is denied.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 9, 2003 at 2:00 p.m.

SO ORDERED.

20030327

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