Articles Posted in Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence that led to Defendant’s conviction for marijuana possession. Corporal Bradley Halter stopped Defendant for a traffic violation. When Defendant attempted to walk away from the traffic stop, Corporal Halter handcuffed Defendant. Because Defendant smelled of marijuana and was impaired, Corporal conducted a search of Defendant’s person, which produced methamphetamine, and, after a subsequent search, marijuana and hashish. After the denial of his motion to suppress, Defendant entered a conditional plea to the possession of marijuana. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Corporal Halter’s seizure of the methpahetamine and subsequent search was supported by both the plain feel doctrine and by standard probable cause considerations. View "Maestas v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence that led to Defendant’s conviction for marijuana possession. Corporal Bradley Halter stopped Defendant for a traffic violation. When Defendant attempted to walk away from the traffic stop, Corporal Halter handcuffed Defendant. Because Defendant smelled of marijuana and was impaired, Corporal conducted a search of Defendant’s person, which produced methamphetamine, and, after a subsequent search, marijuana and hashish. After the denial of his motion to suppress, Defendant entered a conditional plea to the possession of marijuana. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Corporal Halter’s seizure of the methpahetamine and subsequent search was supported by both the plain feel doctrine and by standard probable cause considerations. View "Maestas v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order denying Appellant’s motion to suppress the marijuana Trooper Aaron Kirlin discovered in Appellant’s possession during a traffic stop on Interstate 80. Appellant pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, preserving his right to appeal the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress. On appeal, Appellant argued that Trooper Kirlin unlawfully detained him beyond the original purpose of the traffic stop in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that Trooper Kirlin’s extended contact with Appellant was a consensual encounter that did not violate the Fourth Amendment. View "Kennison v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the State in this action filed by Mark Gordon in his capacity as the State Treasurer challenging on its face the constitutionality of legislation that created the State Capitol Building Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group (oversight group). In his complaint, Gordon argued that the legislation violated article 3, section 31 and article 2, section 1 of the Wyoming Constitution because, in part, it did not provide for the state treasurer’s approval of contracts for the capitol restoration project. The district court concluded that Gordon failed to establish that the capitol restoration legislation violated the constitution on its face or that the work being done on the project was the type of repair work contemplated by the framers when they adopted article 3, section 31. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the capitol restoration legislation was unconstitutional on its face because it impermissibly transferred the state treasurer’s constitutional authority to approve contracts for “repairing and furnishing the halls and rooms used for the meeting of the legislature and its committees” to others. View "Gordon v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the State in this action filed by Mark Gordon in his capacity as the State Treasurer challenging on its face the constitutionality of legislation that created the State Capitol Building Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group (oversight group). In his complaint, Gordon argued that the legislation violated article 3, section 31 and article 2, section 1 of the Wyoming Constitution because, in part, it did not provide for the state treasurer’s approval of contracts for the capitol restoration project. The district court concluded that Gordon failed to establish that the capitol restoration legislation violated the constitution on its face or that the work being done on the project was the type of repair work contemplated by the framers when they adopted article 3, section 31. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the capitol restoration legislation was unconstitutional on its face because it impermissibly transferred the state treasurer’s constitutional authority to approve contracts for “repairing and furnishing the halls and rooms used for the meeting of the legislature and its committees” to others. View "Gordon v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this case for a new hearing under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), holding that the district court clearly erred by allowing the State to exercise a peremptory challenge to exclude an African American from the jury. The record supported the validity of only one of the prosecutor’s race-neutral reasons for his peremptory challenge and did not show that the district court would credit this reason alone. Specifically, one of the prosecutor’s two explanations for the peremptory challenge upon which the district court relied failed, and the record did not show that the district court would find that the prosecutor was motivated solely by the valid grounds. Therefore, the case must be remanded for a new Batson hearing in which the district court must reassess the prosecutor’s credibility in light of the discrepancy between the record and his explanation. View "Roberts v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this case for a new hearing under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), holding that the district court clearly erred by allowing the State to exercise a peremptory challenge to exclude an African American from the jury. The record supported the validity of only one of the prosecutor’s race-neutral reasons for his peremptory challenge and did not show that the district court would credit this reason alone. Specifically, one of the prosecutor’s two explanations for the peremptory challenge upon which the district court relied failed, and the record did not show that the district court would find that the prosecutor was motivated solely by the valid grounds. Therefore, the case must be remanded for a new Batson hearing in which the district court must reassess the prosecutor’s credibility in light of the discrepancy between the record and his explanation. View "Roberts v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a detention and subsequent search of his vehicle. Defendant was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Defendant moved to suppress evidence based on the roadside search of his car, arguing that the initial traffic stop was not justified by reasonable suspicion and that the subsequent detention was unconstitutional. The district court denied the motion to suppress. On appeal, Defendant conceded that the initial stop was justified but challenged the investigative detention. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress. View "Harris v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court finding that Plaintiffs, two Wyoming citizens, lacked standing to challenge legislation that authorized two construction projects while maintaining a degree of legislative control and that Plaintiffs’ proposed amendment to their complaint would be futile. In their complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that the legislation at issue violated the Wyoming Constitution and that government officials unconstitutionally engaged in a pattern of letting state contracts without competitive bidding or required safeguards. The district court found that Plaintiffs lacked standing and that their proposed amendment to add a third plaintiff who would have alleged economic harm resulting from the contracting practices would be futile. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff lacked standing to bring this lawsuit; and (2) because there was no justiciable controversy, this court declines to address the constitutionality of a statute enacted in 2017 that prohibits naming a legislator in a lawsuit if he or she is sued in an official capacity. View "Allred v. Bebout" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court finding that Plaintiffs, two Wyoming citizens, lacked standing to challenge legislation that authorized two construction projects while maintaining a degree of legislative control and that Plaintiffs’ proposed amendment to their complaint would be futile. In their complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that the legislation at issue violated the Wyoming Constitution and that government officials unconstitutionally engaged in a pattern of letting state contracts without competitive bidding or required safeguards. The district court found that Plaintiffs lacked standing and that their proposed amendment to add a third plaintiff who would have alleged economic harm resulting from the contracting practices would be futile. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff lacked standing to bring this lawsuit; and (2) because there was no justiciable controversy, this court declines to address the constitutionality of a statute enacted in 2017 that prohibits naming a legislator in a lawsuit if he or she is sued in an official capacity. View "Allred v. Bebout" on Justia Law