Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Snyder

Supreme Court of Montana

April 16, 2019

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
SARA LOUISE SNYDER, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: January 23, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DC 15-35-IN Honorable Karen Townsend, Presiding Judge.

          For Appellant: Colin M. Stephens, Smith & Stephens, P.C., Missoula, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Mardell Ployhar, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Kirsten H. Pabst, Missoula County Attorney, Karla Painter, Deputy County Attorney, Missoula, Montana

          OPINION

          Dirk Sandefur, Justice.

         ¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

         ¶2 Defendant Sara Louise Snyder appeals from her judgment of conviction on two counts of elder exploitation in the Montana Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County. We affirm.

         ¶3 Prior to her death in 2002, Jaynet Brown (Jaynet) owned and operated the Busy Elves Bridal Shop (Busy Elves) in Missoula. Jaynet was married to Horace "Bud" Brown (Brown) who was the elected Missoula County Surveyor. Brown met Sara Snyder (Snyder) when she was working at Busy Elves from 1997 to 2000. After Jaynet passed, Brown endeavored to operate the bridal shop, eventually re-hiring Snyder to assist him.

         ¶4 Over time, Brown and Snyder developed a close relationship. Snyder viewed Brown as a "lonely" man whom she regarded as a father-figure. Brown, who had no children and no family in Montana, similarly considered and held Snyder out to the public as his adopted daughter. He had a similarly close relationship with Snyder's daughter and referred to her as his granddaughter.

         ¶5 In 2011, Brown began experiencing memory problems. In November, accompanied by Snyder, Brown saw a doctor who evaluated him for onset of dementia. A CT brain scan revealed microvascular changes but he was able to pass a diagnostic memory test. Brown nonetheless experienced difficulty driving as of December 2011. Following a traffic accident in regard to which law enforcement cited him for a moving violation citation, Brown again saw a doctor with Snyder in May 2012 and, for the first time, failed a dementia screening test. A consulting neurologist subsequently diagnosed him with progressive dementia.

         ¶6 Snyder drove Brown to medical appointments in August 2012 and twice in 2013. In coordination with his physician, Snyder became actively involved in monitoring Brown's medication and blood sugar levels and generally assisting in his overall care. However, in a letter to Adult Protective Services (APS) dated December 10, 2013, Brown's physician reported that Brown's "needs were not being met in the current system . . . [and] somebody should be helping him."

         ¶7 Brown owned a home on property that also included two rental units. Prior to 2012, Brown had never missed a mortgage payment on his property. However, the bank stopped receiving payments on Brown's mortgage in late 2012 and, following several unanswered calls and demand letters, initiated non-judicial foreclosure which terminated with a trustee's sale of his property in November 2013.

         ¶8 Upon serving a subsequent notice to vacate at his home, a bank employee found Brown surprised and mystified as to what had happened. As Brown accompanied the bank employee through his home, they encountered a locked room Brown described as "her" room-"she keeps that locked[, ] I don't go in there." The bank employee testified at trial that Brown told her it was his granddaughter's room. As she proceeded through the home, the bank employee did not see any of the demand letters or foreclosure notices sent to Brown. One of Brown's tenants subsequently told the bank employee that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.