Angelica Reynoso was employed as a service officer by the Gardena Police Department and worked at the city jail. On February 20, 2016, an inmate who had scabies was transferred to another jail. Service Officer BrianLee packaged the inmate’s property but Reynoso may have touched the inmate’s shoes.
That same day, Reynoso or her former husband purchased 1,049 square feet of flooring from Lumber Liquidators.Over the next few months, Reynoso purchased additional flooring from Lumber Liquidators.
On February 23, 2016, Reynoso reported to her employer that she had a rash and believed it to be scabies due to the inmate exposure. Reynoso received treatment that day from a medical clinic.
On March 9, 2016, Reynoso informed her employer that she believed that scabies had infected her children and her residence. The employer sent a professional cleaning crew to Reynoso’s residence. The cleaners found an infestation of bedbugs, but not scabies. The crew steam-cleaned the carpet, but did not advise Reynoso to replace the carpet with new flooring.
Later Reynoso stated that her physician advised her to replace her flooring, and sent flooring invoices to her employer dated from February to May 2016, amounting to $8,640.22. When asked to provide the physician’s note, Reynoso replied that the replacement recommendation came from the cleaning crew who cleaned her residence.
A jury convicted Reynoso of workers’ compensation insurance fraud and insurance fraud. The court of appeal sustained the conviction in the unpublished case of People v Reynoso.
The issue on appeal was the admissibility of her recorded interview taken by Investigator Michael Downs at the police department. Downs died before the criminal trial, and the recording was admitted into evidence without his authentication.
Recordings are writings as defined by the Evidence Code. To be admissible, a writing must be relevant and authenticated. The Code defines authentication as “the introduction of evidence sufficient to sustain a finding that it is the writing that the proponent of the evidence claims it is.”
The fact conflicting inferences can be drawn regarding authenticity goes to the document’s weight as evidence, not its admissibility.
The trial court acted within its discretion by deciding that the prosecutor established a prima facie showing of authenticity for the Downs recording.
The parties stipulated that the voices on the regarding were Downs and Reynoso. The parties also agreed that their respective transcripts of the recording had no material differences. At the beginning and end of the recording, Downs announced the time.From this information, the court could measure the duration of the interview and decide that it was complete.