The prison psychologist who phoned in a frantic but phony 911 sexual assault call to persuade her husband that they needed to move to a better neighborhood pleaded out Wednesday to a felony conspiracy charge.
Laurie Ann Martinez was described in a letter to the court from the police officer who investigated the case as a "highly intelligent and manipulative" woman who blasted friend and fellow workers with thousands of emails to get what she wanted.
One friend she purportedly used, Nicole Snyder, bought into Martinez's plan to escape her neighborhood near Northgate Boulevard and West El Camino Avenue by staging her own rape, authorities said. Snyder told police Martinez called her almost daily to "decry her living circumstances with her husband," said Officer Joyce Thorgrimson's Jan. 17 letter to the court.
Snyder decided to help Martinez out with the stunt, and she wound up getting arrested, too. But due to her cooperation in the ensuing probe, Snyder got off with a misdemeanor no-contest plea.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick sentenced the 36-year-old Martinez to five years formal probation and 180 days on the sheriff's work furlough program, which one court official said translates into electronic monitoring.
McCormick also ordered Martinez to pay $4,463.32 in restitution to help pay for the police investigation into her bogus report.
The judge imposed a 90-day term on Snyder, 33, which the co-conspirator will serve on community service, her attorney said. Snyder also received three years probation and the same restitution fee.
In court, Deputy District Attorney Chris Carlson called Martinez's behavior outrageous. He said it served to undermine the interests of true sexual assault victims.
"The Police Department law enforcement is not a toy to be casually utilized by people to further their own personal agenda," Carlson said in an interview in the hallway. "We've got real victims of crime that need (police) help in cases that are legitimate. To send law enforcement off on wild goose chases like this really is an insult to the community."
Martinez's attorney, Michelle Spaulding, said her client is "glad this is over and she would like to get her life back together."
Snyder and her lawyer declined to comment.
According to the criminal complaint against Martinez and Snyder, they put their plan into play last April 10 at the psychologist's home in the 600 block of Norgard Court when they removed two laptop computers, an X-Box video game machine, the psychologist's purse and a camera along with numerous credit cards.
They hid the items at Snyder's place before returning to Norgard Court. Snyder then laced on a pair of boxing gloves and belted her friend in the face, marking it up pretty good. Martinez drew some blood on her own by splitting her lip with a pin, the complaint said. Then she rubbed sandpaper on her knuckles, ripped her blouse off to expose her top, dropped her pants to the ankles and "urinated on herself to make officers believe she had lost consciousness," the complaint said.
Sometime in there, she called 911 and was then "crying hysterically" when police arrived, according to the complaint.
When the district attorney read the factual basis for Martinez's plea in court, the defense attorney interjected when Carlson said the defendant reported the case as a sexual assault. Spaulding said Martinez reported it as a phony home invasion robbery. Carlson did not give in. He said Martinez's 911 call implied it was a sexual assault. The judge didn't take the plea until the two lawyers agreed that Martinez had submitted to a sexual assault examination at the hospital.
"One of the more egregious parts of this crime was the false sexual assault allegation, which to me is a black mark against true sexual assault victims," Carlson said. "I didn't want that washed away by her saying it didn't happen, because it did."
As for Martinez's psychologist's license, California Board of Psychology online records show it has been suspended. Carlson said Martinez waived a hearing to try to get it back.
Martinez was fired by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from her job at California State Prison, Sacramento, on Dec. 22, said Terry Thornton, agency spokeswoman.
The fake rape report also carried some consequences for Martinez's marriage.
A month after she filed it, her husband, according to online court records, filed for divorce.