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Allen v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

April 21, 2016

EDWARD DAMIAN ALLEN, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES, Appellee.

Submitted September 15, 2015

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia CF2-13174-11 Hon. Michael Ryan, Trial Judge

On Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Criminal Division

Fletcher P. Thompson for appellant.

Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, with whom Elizabeth Trosman, Elizabeth H. Danello, and Patricia A. Heffernan, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.

Before Beckwith and Easterly, Associate Judges, and Belson, Senior Judge.

JUDGMENT

This case was submitted to the court on the transcript of record and the briefs filed, and without presentation of oral argument. On consideration whereof, and for the reasons set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby

ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

OPINION

Belson, Senior Judge:

Following a jury trial, appellant Allen was convicted of two counts[1] of felony deceptive labeling in violation of D.C. Code § 22-3214.01(b) (2012 Repl.).[2] On appeal, appellant contends that the government failed to prove that he knowingly engaged in deceptive labeling. The government asks that we summarily affirm the judgments below. We have not, however, had occasion yet to consider or define the term "knowingly" within the context of this statute. Accordingly, we deny the government's motion, and take this opportunity to analyze the sufficiency of the government's evidence as it relates to whether appellant "knowingly" offered audio and visual recordings for sale that were deceptively labeled within the meaning of D.C. Code § 22-3214.01. Finding sufficient evidence of appellant's knowledge in the record, we affirm.

I.

Appellant was the manager of "American Shottas, " a store that sold compact discs (CDs), digital video discs (DVDs), [3] baseball hats, apparel, shoes, and other items, such as purses. On July 12, 2011, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) executed a search warrant at American Shottas. Appellant was present during the warrant's execution, which revealed that the store's office contained a computer, a CD burner device, and numerous blank CDs and DVDs. During a videotaped interview, appellant admitted he was the day-to-day manager of the store, and had worked there "on and off for more than two years. He said that his normal duties included helping customers, ordering CDs, and using the store's electronics to "mix tapes."

At trial, the government offered the expert testimony of Michael Middleton, an investigative consultant for the Recording Industry Association of America, who works regularly with law enforcement to identify counterfeit CDs and DVDs, and illegally sold content. He explained the difference between "burning" and "pressing" CDs and DVDs, and testified that the majority of legitimately produced CDs and DVDs are pressed due to the comparative ...


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