U.S. v. Donna, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 3789 (3rd Cir. 2010)
Mr. and Mrs. Donna were convicted of conspiracy to commit extortion and filing false returns in violation of section 7206.
The Donnas appealed on several grounds including insufficiency of the evidence.
The Court stated that it would not reverse a criminal conviction by reason of insufficiency of the evidence unless the evidence viewed in the light most supportive of the fact finder's decision cannot support the verdict. The Court found the evidence sufficient to confirm the convictions.
The Donnas appealed the denial of their motion to severe the tax counts from the extortion counts. The Court noted that even in cases where joinder is technically proper under Rule 8 a defendant may move for severance under Rule 14 to prevent prejudice.
The Court stated that it will not reverse a conviction by reason of misjoinder of offenses unless the misjoinder had a substantial effect on the outcome of the proceedings. The Court found the effect on Donnas' trial was not substantial.
The convictions and sentences were upheld.
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