At the county courthouse in Palestine, a jury found Kimberly Snider not guilty on five misdemeanor charges of official oppression and one felony count of tampering or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair. She could have been incarcerated for over a decade if the jury had convicted her on all charges.
The original indictment claimed that Snider had interfered with an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of a child. However, prosecutors reportedly corrected the indictment the day before the jury received the case, conceding that the investigation in question did not involve a child.
The Anderson County District Attorney’s Office charged Snider in January of last year and she was ultimately placed on administrative leave. Snider’s husband was the superintendent of Neches Independent School District at the time and was the one who made the decision to keep her employed.
After the announcement of the verdicts, Snider’s attorney told local media that he had expected the jury to vindicate his client.
“Kim and I knew from the very beginning that once any jury heard our case, her case, then they would find her not guilty,” Steve Green said. “And it’s been a long time coming. It’s been almost two years. We’re certainly not surprised by the verdict.”
Kaitlin Scroggins, a candidate for Neches ISD school board, wrote in a statement after the announcement that she was disappointed in the verdicts but pleased with some of the changes in school policy that arose from it.
“The faces of these girls and their parents as the verdict was read was heart wrenching. They did their part and thought justice would be served. So many people that have been victimized by her over decades and they thought finally something would be done. We mourn for them and send strength.”
Scroggins leads a local interest group called Changes for Neches, which has advocated against Snider for years.
Judge Deborah Oakes Evans presided over the case in the 87th District Court. Snider’s first trial in March was cut short after Green had a medical emergency during proceedings.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."