Attorneys for Noor file motion for judgment of acquittal

May 14, 2019 06:08 PM

Lawyers for former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor have filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal - claiming the evidence in the case is insufficient to sustain a conviction.

On April 30, jurors found Noor guilty of murder in the third degree and manslaughter in the second degree in connection to the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July 2017.


Damond had called 911 to report a possible crime occurring outside her South Minneapolis home when she was fatally shot by Noor while approaching the vehicle Noor and his partner Matthew Harrity were inside.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 7.

RELATED: Judge places hold on copying of Noor trial exhibits

Tuesday's motion is not an appeal, but rather a legal challenge seeking to have presiding Judge Kathryn Quaintance set aside the jury's guilty verdicts.

"This is not an appeal," said legal expert Steve Schleicher of Maslon LLP. "It is a motion before the district court (Judge Quaintance) to find the defendant not guilty despite the jury's verdict.  So it is not at the appellate court level."


Noor had pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense. 

In Minnesota, third-degree murder means causing the death of another through a dangerous act "without regard for human life but without intent to cause" death. The presumptive sentence is about 12 ½ years.

Second-degree manslaughter, defined as creating unreasonable risk of causing death or great bodily harm to another through culpable negligence, has a presumptive sentence of about 4 ½ years.

RELATED: City of Minneapolis settles lawsuit with family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond

In the motion, his attorneys argue that on the third-degree murder count, "The evidence at trial failed to support finding that Mr. Noor acted with a depraved heart. When Officer Noor fired that night he was not acting with a depraved mind seething with wanton passion to cause mischief."

On the manslaughter charge, his attorneys argue the evidence did not show Noor acted with culpable negligence.

"His actions were an attempt to minimize the danger he and Officer Harrity believed was real at that moment," the motion reads. "And after the fact, his shock and actions reveal a man with a heavy conscience, not a man acting in conscious disregard for the risk he was creating."

A spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney's Office called the motion standard practice in these type of cases.

"The motion for a judgment for acquittal is a standard motion in nearly every guilty verdict by a jury or judge," a statement read. "We will be responding to the motion within the next two weeks."

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