Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of one count of aggravated robbery, holding that the district court did erred in ordering Defendant to make pretrial disclosure of information requested by the State pursuant to Wyo. R. Evid. 404(b) because a defendant is not required to make a pretrial disclosure of such information. In addition, the district court erred in limiting cross-examination by defense counsel as a sanction for Defendant’s failure to disclose such evidence. Ultimately, however, the limitation placed on Defendant’s cross-examination was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt given the strength of the State’s case against Defendant. View "Broussard v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of five counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor. Defendant appealed, arguing that he was denied his right to a fair trial due to the cumulative error of three instances of prosecutorial misconduct during the prosecutor’s closing argument. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the prosecutor committed misconduct by attempting to define reasonable doubt for the jury; (2) the prosecutor committed misconduct by suggesting that Defendant carried any burden of proof; but (3) Defendant was not cumulatively prejudiced by the prosecutor’s statements to such an extent that his trial was anything other than fair and impartial. View "Hamilton v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. After Defendant was sentenced, the State and Defendant filed a joint motion to correct an illegal sentence, agreeing that Defendant had not been sentenced in accordance with the terms of his plea agreement. Dissatisfied with his stipulated sentence amendment, Defendant filed a motion to vacate an illegal sentence and a motion to withdraw his no contest plea. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court lacked jurisdiction to consider Defendant’s post-sentence motion to withdraw his guilty plea because Defendant’s post-sentence motion was untimely; and (2) accordingly, this court lacked jurisdiction to consider Defendant’s appeal. View "Sanchez v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant, who received state and federal convictions for drug and firearm offenses, filed a motion for a sentence reduction, asking that his aggregate state sentence be altered to run concurrently with the federal sentence he was then serving so that he might be eligible to participate in his federal facility’s drug treatment program earlier. The district court denied the motion without a hearing, concluding that no showing had been made pursuant to W. R. Crim. P. 35(b) to justify or require a reduction of Defendant’s sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion in declining to run the Wyoming sentence concurrently with the federal sentence without holding a hearing; and (2) as to Defendant’s remaining issues on appeal, they were not raised in the district court, and Defendant now offered no cogent argument or pertinent authority in support of his position. View "Simms v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In 1995, Appellant pled guilty to second-degree murder. In 2016, Appellant filed the two motions at issue in this appeal. The first motion was a request that the district court order the Wyoming Department of Corrections to provide a copy of all of Defendant’s records at the State’s expense. The second motion was “time line…on how much time the Defendant would have to serve” and an order requiring that he receive parole. The district court denied both motions. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the district court had no jurisdiction to consider either of Appellant’s motions because appellant provided no cogent argument or relevant authority demonstrating that the district court had jurisdiction to grant the relief he requested. The court further ordered Appellant to show cause why the filing restrictions stated in this opinion should not be imposed. View "Barela v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant appealed his convictions for kidnapping and misdemeanor theft of a cell phone, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support the convictions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a reasonable jury could have found from the facts presented that the time the victim was forced to spend in her house with Appellant was sufficient to constitute confinement within the meaning of Wyoming’s kidnapping statute; and (2) there were sufficient facts for a jury to reasonably conclude that each of the elements of misdemeanor theft relating to the taking of an Apple iPhone was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. View "Dockter v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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A jury found Defendant guilty of one count of aggravated assault and battery after he hit Sam Trujillo with his vehicle. The trial court sentenced Defendant to two to four years in prison. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction, thus rejecting Defendant’s contention that his conviction should be reversed due to the ineffective assistance of counsel he received at trial. The court held that trial counsel was not ineffective in failing to request either an accident instruction or a defense of others jury instruction. View "Starr v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s convictions for involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment. On appeal, Appellant challenged the district court’s jury instructions on self-defense. The Supreme Court held (1) the justification of self-defense is available when the crime charged involves a reckless act rather than an intentional act, and therefore, the Court’s conclusion to the contrary in Duran v. State is hereby overruled; (2) the district court did not err in failing to give the jury a requested castle doctrine instruction; but (3) plain error occurred when the jury was instructed that Appellant had a duty to retreat before using deadly force. View "Haire v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was charged in the district court with criminal contempt for violating a juvenile court order. Defendant entered a conditional no contest plea to the criminal contempt charges. Defendant then timely appealed, raising several issues. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Defendant’s entire plea was invalid, but the Court exercised its discretion to convert Defendant’s appeal to a writ of review in order to clarify some of the questions of law; (2) the district court had concurrent jurisdiction over this criminal contempt action arising from conduct in juvenile court; but (3) Defendant was denied due process because the order to show cause did not contain all the elements of the charged offense, an error that was compounded when Defendant’s attorney was denied access to the juvenile court file which contained the order Defendant was accused of violating. Remanded. View "Brown v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a minor. The district court sentenced Defendant to imprisonment for six to ten years. Defendant moved for a new trial on the ground that his trial attorney was ineffective. The district court denied the motion after an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence, holding (1) Defendant’s attorney provided constitutionally effective assistance; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to allow rational jurors to reasonably conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant caused the victim to touch him for sexual arousal or gratification. View "Jones v. State" on Justia Law