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In this dispute over custody of a child, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting Mother's motion to strike Father's motion for an order relinquishing permanent child custody jurisdiction to the tribal court, holding that the district court properly concluded that it retained exclusive continuing jurisdiction to make permanent custody determinations regarding the child. The district court granted Mother primary custody of the parties' child. Father, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, kept the child on the South Dakota reservation and refused to relinquish custody to Mother. Father sought orders from the district court and the trial court transferring jurisdiction over the custody matter to the tribal court. The tribal court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction because the custody action was pending in the district court and Mother was not a tribal matter. In the district court, Father argued that the tribal court acquired jurisdiction over the custody matter by issuing emergency child custody and/or protection orders. The district court granted Mother's motion to strike Father's motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly concluded that it retained exclusive continuing jurisdiction to make permanent custody determinations regarding the child. View "Mitchell v. Preston" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court enforcing the terms of Appellant's divorce decree at the request of her late ex-husband's estate, holding that there was no error in the district court's decision. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court erred by not modifying the terms of the divorce settlement agreement and the divorce decree, erred in failing to apply laches, and erred in concluding that Appellant was not entitled to storage fees or mortgage contributions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that a divorce agreement that has merged into a divorce decree cannot be modified by oral agreement of the parties, and Acton v. Acton, 406 P.3d 1279 (Wyo. 2017) is overruled because it states otherwise; (2) Appellant failed to demonstrate that she was entitled to relief from the decree under Wyo. R. Civ. P. 60(b); (3) Appellant could not use the doctrine of laches to prevent enforcement of the judgment; and (4) the district court properly held that Appellant was not entitled to storage fees or mortgage contributions. View "Meiners v. Meiners" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained after a traffic stop, asserting that the stop's "air of pretext" should cause the Court to reevaluate whether a dog sniff to the exterior of a vehicle require "a righter legal framework" under the Wyoming Constitution than the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant failed to present cogent argument under the Wyoming Constitution on appeal. View "Gibson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of four counts of third-degree sexual assault related to his abuse of three minors, holding that the district court's challenged evidentiary rulings were without error. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting photos and videos pursuant to Wyo. R. Evid. 404(b); (2) the trial court did not err in overruling Defendant's objection to the admission of a vibrator based on the State's failure to list the exhibit in its pretrial disclosure; and (3) Defendant's failure to timely object to evidence on the basis of foundation precluded appellate review of that claim. View "Mayhew v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of felony possession of marijuana and possession with intent to deliver, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless search; (2) the district court did not commit reversible error in permitting the introduction of improper rebuttal evidence; (3) the prosecutor did not commit prejudicial misconduct through the use of improper evidence and argument; and (4) defense counsel did not provide ineffective assistance by failing to object to the admission of certain rebuttal testimony and the State's alleged improper statements during closing arguments. View "Dixon v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's drug-related convictions, holding that the district court did not err by denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence or his motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial and that sufficient evidence supported Defendant's conviction of felony possession of methamphetamine in a liquid form, as contemplated by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 35-7-1031. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant's motion to suppress, which challenged the validity of the search warrant, was properly denied; (2) Defendant was not denied his right to a speedy trial under Rule 48 of the Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure or the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution; and (3) sufficient evidence supported the jury's finding the jury's finding that the liquid contained in Defendant's water pipe, which tested positive for methamphetamine, constituted "a controlled substance in liquid form" under the plain language of section 35-7-1031(c)(i)(B). View "Mathewson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's sentence for two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of mutilation of dead human bodies, holding that the State did not breach the plea agreement when it recommended the agreed-upon sentence but made negative comments about Defendant's conduct. Defendant pleaded no contest to the crimes for which he was convicted as part of a plea agreement. The district court accepted the pleas but rejected the agreement's joint sentencing recommendation. On appeal, Defendant argued that the State violated the plea agreement by commenting on the evidence. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the State did not breach its plea agreement with Defendant by commenting on the evidence. View "Montano v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of second-degree murder, holding that the district court did not commit prejudicial error during the proceedings below and that Defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in instructing the jury, or where it did err, the error was not prejudicial; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding testimony that the victim made previous statements indicating that he wanted to get into a fight; (3) the prosecutor committed misconduct by suggesting that Defendant had the burden of proof on certain issues relating to his self-defense claim, but Defendant failed to show material prejudice; and (4) the district court correctly found that Defendant’s trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance. View "Farrow v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s two motions for a new trial, holding that Defendant did not provide the district court with “newly discovered evidence,” and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Defendant’s motions. Defendant was convicted of kidnapping, unlawful entry, and misdemeanor theft, among other offenses. Defendant filed two pro se motions for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence. The district court denied the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s claims that certain evidence was newly discovered were without merit. View "Dockter v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of one count of third-degree sexual assault, holding that Defendant was not denied her right to due process of law under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution or under Wyo. Const. art. I, 6,7, and 36. On appeal, Defendant argued, inter alia, that Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-2-304(a)(iii) and 6-2-303(a)(vii) were facially invalid because they were facially overbroad. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the statutes at issue are not facially overbroad in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (2) the statutes at issue are not overly broad in violation of Wyo. Const. art. I, 6, 7, and 36. View "Sheesley v. State" on Justia Law