Rule 29: Motion for Judgment of Acquittal.

(a) Directed Verdict Abolished. Motions for directed verdict are abolished and are replaced by motions for judgment of acquittal.

(b) Grounds for Judgment of Acquittal. On defendant’s motion or its own initiative, the court shall order the entry of judgment of acquittal of one or more offenses charged in the indictment, presentment, or information after the evidence on either side is closed if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction of such offense or offenses.

(c) Proof After Denial of Motion. If–at the close of the state’s proof–the court denies a defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal, the defendant may offer evidence without having reserved the right to do so.

(d) Reserving Decision on Motion at Close of Evidence. If a motion for judgment of acquittal is made at the close of all the evidence, the court may reserve decision on the motion, submit the case to the jury, and decide the motion:

(1) before the jury returns a verdict;

(2) after it returns a verdict of guilty; or

(3) after it is discharged without having returned a verdict.

(e) Motion After Guilty Verdict or Discharge of Jury.

(1) Timing of Motion. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, a defendant may move for a judgment of acquittal, or renew such a motion, within 30 days of the date the order of sentence is entered or within such further time as the court sets during the 30-day period. If the jury is discharged without having returned a verdict, the 30-day period begins to run from the date the jury is discharged.

(2) Setting Aside Guilty Verdict. If the defendant moves for a judgment of acquittal after the jury returns a verdict of guilty, the court may set aside the guilty verdict, dispose of a motion for new trial, and grant the judgment of acquittal. The state may appeal when the court sets aside a verdict of guilty and enters a judgment of acquittal.

Advisory Commission Comment.

Thirty days are allowed after the date the order of sentence is entered within which to move for a judgment of acquittal. This time period was selected to conform to that allowed for filing a motion for a new trial, and it is permissible to file the two together; indeed, the commission anticipates that this will be the case. The same time period of thirty days applies to motions for judgment of acquittal, motions for new trials, and motions in arrest of judgment. They may be filed in any order or together, without any waiver, but all must come within the thirty days after the date the order of sentence is entered.

Back to Top