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Name: People v. Scally
Case #: G050444
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/22/2015

Text messages defendant sent containing pimp terminology were properly admitted as evidence of intent during his trial for pimping and pandering. Scally was found guilty of pimping (Pen. Code, 266h, subd. (a)) and pandering (Pen. Code, 266i, subd. (a)) based on his relationship with a woman named Dakota. At his trial, the prosecution admitted text messages Scally sent to various individuals bragging about Dakota’s earnings as a prostitute and how he was focused on earning money. An expert testified that the messages were consistent with pimping activity. Scally’s defense was that his relationship with Dakota was merely a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. On appeal, Scally argued that the text messages he sent to individuals other than Dakota should have been excluded as improper character evidence. Held: Affirmed. Under Evidence Code section 1101, subdivision (a), evidence of a person’s character is inadmissible when offered to prove he acted in conformity with that conduct on a particular occasion. But subdivision (b) provides that such evidence is admissible when relevant to prove motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident. Here, the Court of Appeal concluded that the text messages and the expert’s testimony were relevant on the issue of intent. Scally’s defense was that there was nothing illegal about having a prostitute as a girlfriend and that he took no part in Dakota’s independent activity. The text messages and expert testimony rebutted that defense by showing Scally was involved in pimping culture—he used pimp terminology, bragged about the money he was making, attempted to recruit another woman, and exhibited knowledge about high prostitution areas. The messages were properly admitted. Moreover, any error in admitting the messages was harmless.