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Name: People v. Tompkins
Case #: E047842
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/23/2010

In a multi-count child molestation case, evidence that multiple molestations took place will establish the corpus delicti for multiple counts. Appellant was charged with numerous counts of molest. During the pre-trial investigation, appellant provided inculpatory statements to investigators which were introduced at trial. On appeal, the court rejected appellant’s claim that the prosecutor failed to establish the corpus delicti of six of the counts, and instead relied on appellant’s out of court statements. Relying on People v. Culton (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 363 (cumulative testimony may be sufficient evidence to raise reasonable inferences of the corpus delicti of the offenses), the court found that the corpus delicti requirement was satisfied by the victim’s testimony that appellant molested her more than once but less than fifty times, that she had visitation with appellant every other weekend during this time period, and that appellant molested her on some of the visits.
Generic testimony as to the prohibited molestation conduct may be sufficient. The court also found that generic testimony about child molestation is sufficient to support a conviction if the testimony describes the kind of act or acts committed with sufficient specificity to assure that unlawful conduct has occurred and to differentiate between the various types of proscribed conduct.
Penal Code section 311.4 (employment of minor by a parent in distribution or production of pornography) does not require actual filming by the parent. According to the evidence, appellant assisted his victim daughter in producing a digital representation of sexual conduct by her over the Internet, but did not actually produce it himself. Analyzing the elements of the statute, the court found that the parent must have knowingly permitted the child to participate in the production of any representation of sexual conduct, but that there is no requirement that the parent actually conduct the filming. (Disagreeing with People v. Hobbs (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 1.)