US v. Roland Griffin

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UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 3:10-cr-00060-REP-1 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. [998458745] [10-4629]

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US v. Roland Griffin Doc. 0 Case: 10-4629 Document: 26 Date Filed: 11/03/2010 Page: 1 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 10-4629 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. ROLAND JOHN GRIFFIN, Defendant Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Richmond. Robert E. Payne, Senior District Judge. (3:10-cr-00060-REP-1) Submitted: September 30, 2010 Decided: November 3, 2010 Before MOTZ and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Michael S. Nachmanoff, Federal Public Defender, Paul G. Gill, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney, Brian R. Hood, Assistant United States Attorney, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Dockets.Justia.com Case: 10-4629 Document: 26 Date Filed: 11/03/2010 Page: 2 PER CURIAM: Roland John Griffin was convicted, following a bench trial before a magistrate judge, of one count of driving under the influence, in violation of 36 C.F.R 4.23(a)(2) (2009). On appeal, Griffin contends that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction. Finding no reversible error, we affirm. We review a district court's decision to deny a Rule 29 motion for a judgment of acquittal de novo. Smith, 451 F.3d 209, 216 (4th Cir. 2006). United States v. A defendant claiming insufficient evidence to support a verdict against him bears a heavy burden. United States v. Beidler, 110 F.3d 1064, 1067 A verdict must be sustained "if, viewing the (4th Cir. 1997). evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the verdict is supported by `substantial evidence.'" F.3d at 216 that (citations a omitted). finder Substantial of fact Smith, 451 evidence accept is as "evidence reasonable could adequate and sufficient to support a conclusion of a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Furthermore, "[t]he [factfinder], not the reviewing court, weighs the credibility of the evidence and resolves any conflicts in the evidence presented." 110 F.3d at 1067 (internal quotation marks and Beidler, citation omitted). Generally, a verdict is reversed for insufficient 2 Case: 10-4629 Document: 26 Date Filed: 11/03/2010 Page: 3 evidence only where the prosecution clearly failed to meet its burden. Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). 36 C.F.R. 4.23(a)(2) prohibits "operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle" in a national park area with a blood not or breath alcohol level over the .08. only Because Griffin does dispute his intoxication, issue is whether he was operating or in control of his truck when National Park Service Ranger Charles Lochart arrested him. "Operator" controls, control of is defined has as "a person of or who is operates, in actual or drives, physical any other otherwise a charge mode mechanical of transportation mechanical equipment." operator driving. encompasses a 36 C.F.R. 1.4(a). broader range of The definition of behavior than just See United States v. McFarland, 445 F.3d 29, 32 (1st Cir. 2006) (actual physical control exists when the vehicle's owner is conscious and seated behind the steering wheel with the key in the ignition); United States v. Coleman, 750 F. Supp. 191, 193 (W.D. Va. 1990) (evidence of operation was sufficient where driver was found in the driver's seat of her car on the surface of the roadway with the key in the ignition). We conclude that the Government introduced sufficient evidence influence. that Griffin was operating the vehicle under the Ranger Lochart found Griffin in the driver's seat of his parked truck with the keys in the ignition and the engine 3 Case: 10-4629 Document: 26 Date Filed: 11/03/2010 Page: 4 running. by Griffin engaged the electrical equipment in the truck the turn signal and the four-way flashers. operating Moreover, Ranger Lochart's testimony that Griffin stated that he was having a problem with his turn signal and asked how fast he had been driving when he was stopped, together with evidence that Griffin's vehicle was in a different location then it had been when Griffin's son left him alone in the vehicle, * suggests that Griffin was, in fact, driving before Ranger Lochart arrived on the scene. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's judgment. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED Griffin's son, John, had been driving the truck, with Griffin as his only passenger, when John parked the vehicle along the side of a road and left on foot, leaving the keys in the ignition, following an argument between the two men. Testimony established that when Ranger Lochart encountered Griffin his truck was parked at a location different from the area where John had left it. 4 *

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