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Name: People v. Snyder
Case #: A094701
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/27/2003
Subsequent History: None
Summary

Appellant was convicted of first degree felony murder for a home invasion robbery which resulted in the murder of the victim. The trial court instructed the jury that a key prosecution witness, O’Brien, was an accomplice, and therefore his testimony had to be corroborated by other evidence. On appeal, Snyder argued that the trial court erred by failing to either submit to the jury the question of whether another key witness, Hart, was also an accomplice in the offenses, or to instruct that if Hart was found to be an accomplice, that his testimony could neither corroborate nor be corroborated by the testimony of O’Brien. The appellate court here rejected the argument. First, there was no evidence to support Hart’s involvement in the offenses charged against appellant, and therefore no question of fact for the jury to decide as to Hart’s accomplice status. Further, even if he were an accomplice, any error was clearly harmless because there was sufficient evidence to corroborate the testimony of both Hart and O’Brien. Counsel was not ineffective for failing to request jury instructions on Hart’s status as an accomplice. It was not reasonably probable that a different result more favorable to appellant would have occurred had defense counsel requested the instructions. It was also not error for the court to instruct the jury pursuant to CALJIC No. 2.15 on possession of stolen property. The instruction did not unconstitutionally lighten the prosecution’s burden of proof on an element of felony-murder.