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People v. Snyder

California Court of Appeals, Third District

July 15, 2016

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
EUGENE SCOTT SNYDER, Defendant and Appellant


          APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Joaquin County, No. SF113430A, Bobby W. McNatt, Judge.

          Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Page 623


         Robert Navarro, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

         Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Sean M. McCoy and Stephanie A. Mitchell, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

         Opinion by Nicholson, J., with Raye, P. J., and Murray, J., concurring.


Page 624

          [204 Cal.Rptr.3d 889] NICHOLSON, J.

          Defendant Eugene Scott Snyder appeals from a judgment convicting him of nine counts of child molestation and one count of possessing child pornography. He contends (1) insufficient evidence supports one count of committing lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and (2) the trial court abused its discretion under Evidence Code section 352 by admitting into evidence nearly 100 images of child pornography confiscated from defendant's residence. We agree with defendant's first contention but disagree with his second. We affirm the judgment except to reverse it as to one count of molestation.


         Victim L.T.

         L.T. was born in December 1985. She testified at defendant's 2011 trial at the age of 25. Her grandmother raised her.

         L.T. met defendant at a Native American pow-wow she and her grandmother attended in the summer before she started eighth grade. She was 13 years old. Defendant was 36 years old.[1] L.T.'s grandmother's car broke down, and defendant agreed to take them home. Defendant and L.T. flirted on the way home.

         Defendant began seeing L.T. at her home on a regular basis and became a family friend. When L.T.'s grandmother was there, he treated L.T. like a normal kid, but when she was not there, he treated L.T. as a girlfriend. They held hands and kissed.

         They soon began having sex. They had sexual encounters " so many times." We describe the evidence supporting each of the eight counts concerning L.T. as specifically alleged in the information.

         Count 1: Summer 1999, " 'First Time Sexual Intercourse,'" Penal Code Section 288, Subdivision (a)[2]

         During the summer while she was still 13 years old, L.T. invited defendant into her bedroom. She told him she wanted to have sex. It was their first time. They had [204 Cal.Rptr.3d 890] intercourse on the bed. When the intercourse became painful, L.T. asked defendant to stop, and he did.

Page 625

         Count 2: Summer 1999--December 4, 1999, " 'Kissing,'" Section 288, Subdivision (a)

         During that summer and up until L.T.'s 14th birthday, defendant and L.T. kissed frequently and intimately.

         Count 3: Summer 1999--December 4, 1999, " 'Intercourse Between 1st Time & While Menstr[u]ating,'" Section 288, Subdivision (a)

         While still 13 years old, L.T. skipped school and spent the day with defendant in a motel room. They had intercourse multiple times. Defendant audiotaped them having sex and photographed her orally copulating him. L.T. often skipped school in order to be with defendant.

         Counts 4 and 5: October 1999--December 4, 1999, " 'Sexual Intercourse While Menstruating,'" Sections 269, 288, Subdivision (a)

         Many times, defendant and L.T. would have sex in his truck while parked in a church parking lot. Defendant had a mattress in his truck bed, and a camper shell covered the bed. Defendant would pick L.T. up around 7:00 a.m., and they would have sex before she went to school.

         One time in the fall or winter of 1999, when they were having sex in the truck at the church parking lot, L.T. asked defendant to stop. She had been menstruating at the time. She told defendant she did not want to continue and to get off her, but he continued to orgasm. L.T. began crying; he apologized and drove her to school. L.T. said this incident happened when she was 13 years old, but she could not remember the time of year.

         Count 6: Summer 1999--December 4, 1999, " 'Finger in Vagina,'" Section 288, Subdivision (a)

         During the summer of 1999, defendant digitally penetrated L.T. while they sat in his truck at Angel Cruz Park. L.T. knew this act happened when she was 13; the penetration hurt her because she and defendant had not had much sexual contact prior to this incident.

         Count 7: Summer 1999--December 4, 1999, " 'Sexual Intercourse @ Grandma's House After 1st Time,'" Section 288, Subdivision (a)

         L.T. testified she was 13 years old the second time she and defendant had sex, but she could not remember where the second time occurred. They had sex in many places, including " in my house." L.T. said it was nighttime the

Page 626

second time she and defendant had sex at her grandmother's house, but she could not recall the exact month when it occurred.

         Count 8: December 5, 1999--December 4, 2000, " 'Sexual Intercourse While 14 Years Old,'" Section ...

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