United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
the Court is Defendant Mark Griffis' Motion for a
Judgment of Acquittal. (Doc. No. 55.) For the reasons stated
herein, Defendant's motion is DENIED.
February 7, 2018, Defendant was indicted for Conspiracy, 18
U.S.C. § 371, and Falsification of Records, 18 U.S.C.
§ 1519. (Doc. No. 1.) The Government accused Defendant
of attempting to circumvent Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration regulations by providing pre-signed Medical
Examination Certificates - required by the FMCSA - to Joe
Carol White, a person not authorized to perform medical
was tried before a jury and convicted of conspiracy to
falsify documents, Count One of the Indictment. On June 21,
2018, Defendant filed a Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal.
(Doc. No. 55.) Defendant argues that there was insufficient
evidence to sustain a conviction because Defendant provided
unrebutted testimony that, as a physician, he could delegate
physical exams to a subordinate without regard to that
subordinate's medical training. (Id. at 1-2.)
Additionally, Defendant claims that because the evidence
showed that Ms. White told Defendant that she was certified
to perform Department of Transportation ("DOT")
physicals, there was insufficient evidence show that
Defendant had the intent to participate in a conspiracy.
motion for acquittal is governed by Federal Rules of Criminal
Procedure 29. "The sole ground for a post-trial motion
under Rule 29(c) is that the evidence was insufficient to
sustain the conviction." United States v.
Miranda, 425 F.3d 953, 963 (11th Cir. 2005) (citation
omitted). In contrast to an analysis under Federal Rules of
Criminal Procedure 33, when considering the sufficiency of
evidence under Rule 29, the Court must construe the evidence
in the light most favorable to the Government. United
States v. Taylor, 972 F.2d 1247, 1250 (11th Cir. 1992).
It is not the function of the Court, when ruling on such a
motion, to assess the credibility of witnesses, weigh the
evidence, or substitute its own judgment as to guilt or
innocence for that of the jury. United States v.
Brown, 587 F.2d 187, 190 (5th Cir. 1979) (internal
quotation marks omitted). A motion for acquittal is only
granted if a rational jury could not have found guilt beyond
a reasonable doubt. Miranda, 425 F.3d at 959
was convicted of conspiracy to falsify documents pertaining
to DOT mandated medical examinations of the holders of
commercial driver's licenses, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 371. To convict Defendant, the Government was required
to prove four elements: (1) two or more persons in some way
agreed to try to accomplish a shared and unlawful plan, as
charged in the indictment; (2) that Defendant, knowing the
unlawful purpose of the plan, willfully joined it; (3) that
one of the conspirators during the existence of the
conspiracy knowingly committed at least one overt act
described in the indictment; and (4) that such overt act was
committed at or about the time alleged in an effort to carry
out or accomplish some object of the conspiracy. United
States v. Adkinson, 158 F.3d 1147, 1153 (11th Cir.
reviewing the evidence, the Court is convinced that a
reasonable jury could find that Defendant was engaged in a
conspiracy to falsify documents. Defendant's argument
that he, as a doctor, could delegate examinations to any
subordinate is meritless. Whether examinations needed to be
performed by a licensed provider is a legal question and
pursuant to 49 C.F.R. § 390.5, a medical examination
performed before May 21, 2014 needed to be conducted by a
person licensed to perform physicals under state law.
See 49 C.F.R. § 390.5 (2012). Given that the
record showed that Ms. White had no such license, Defendant
was not authorized to have Ms. White perform DOT physicals.
second argument - that he lacked the requisite intent due to
Ms. White's representation that she was qualified to
perform DOT physicals - is similarly unfounded. Even if there
was no direct evidence to contradict that Ms. White
misrepresented her qualifications, the Government presented
evidence that Defendant signed examination certifications
stating that he had conducted exams that were actually
performed by Ms. White. A reasonable jury could infer from
this evidence that Defendant knew Ms. White was not qualified
to perform DOT physicals.
was sufficient evidence in the record to find that Defendant
participated in a conspiracy to falsify documents pertaining
to DOT mandated medical examinations. Therefore, upon due