Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s felony conviction for taking a controlled substance into a jail under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-5-208. That statute provides, in pertinent part, that “[e]xcept as authorized by a person in charge, a person commits a felony…if that person takes or passes any controlled substance or intoxicating liquor into a jail[.]” The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an arrestee can voluntarily take controlled substances into a jail; (2) the booking area is part of the jail; and (3) the prosecutor’s closing argument did not violate Defendant’s rights under the Fifth Amendment. View "Barrera v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for interfering with a peace officer, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-5-204(b). The statute provides that “[a] person who intentionally and knowingly causes or attempts to cause bodily injury to a peace officer engaged in the lawful performance of his duties is guilty of a felony[.]” On appeal, Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction because there was insufficient evidence that he intentionally kicked the peace officer and that he caused bodily injury to the officer. In affirming Defendant’s conviction, the Supreme Court held that the State provided sufficient evidence to support its charge that Defendant intentionally and knowingly caused bodily injury to the officer. View "Flores v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions on one charge of domestic battery and one charge of strangulation of a household member. On appeal, Defendant argued that his convictions and sentences for both crimes violated his constitutional protections against double jeopardy because domestic battery is a lesser included offense of strangulation of a household member. The Supreme Court held that the district court did not commit plain error when it convicted and sentenced Defendant for the crimes of domestic battery and strangulation of a household member because Defendant’s two convictions arose from separate and distinct conduct, and therefore, Defendant failed to establish a double jeopardy violation. View "Drakeford v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree and one count of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree for Defendant’s sexual abuse of the daughter of his girlfriend. Defendant appealed, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in multiple ways and that the district court committed reversible error. In affirming, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant’s trial counsel was not ineffective in her representation of Defendant; and (2) there was no reversible error on the part of the district court. View "Woods v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of two counts of aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon, one count of felony property destruction, and one count of attempted second degree murder. The court held (1) Defendant received a speedy trial as required by Wyo. R. Crim. P. 43 and the federal and state Constitutions; (2) the prosecutor did not commit misconduct during closing arguments; (3) Defendant received effective assistance of trial counsel; (4) the district court properly instructed the jury that it may infer malice from Defendant’s use of a deadly weapon; and (5) the district court did not violate Defendant’s constitutional protection against double jeopardy when it imposed separate sentences for aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon and attempted second degree murder. View "Webb v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed a district court order denying Appellant’s motion for a sentence reduction. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Appellant pleaded no contest to attempted third degree sexual assault. The district court imposed the agreed upon prison sentence of six to ten years. Appellant filed a pro se motion for sentence reduction pursuant to Wyo. R. Crim. P. 35(b), asking the court to reduce the minimum term of his sentence to four years so he could enter treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. The district court denied the motion. Appellant appealed, arguing that the district court erred in denying his Rule 35(b) motion based on a finding that the motion was not timely filed. The Supreme Court rejected this claim of error, holding (1) the district court’s denial of the motion was not based on the timing of Defendant’s filing, and (2) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court’s order denying Appellant’s motion for sentence reduction. View "Alford v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Defendant entered a no contest plea to kidnapping and a guilty plea to escape. The district court sentenced him to eight to ten years for escape and 17 to 20 years for kidnapping, to run consecutively. The court awarded no credit for time served. Defendant later filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence seeking credit for time served between his arrest and his sentencing. The district court denied the motion. Rather than appeal, Defendant filed a pleading that was treated as a petition for writ of review. The Supreme Court denied the petition because the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion was an appealable order. Defendant then filed a pro se motion seeking the same relief he sought in his motion to correct an illegal sentence. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that res judicata prevented review of the issue raised by Defendant. View "Majors v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for two counts of sexual abuse and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the victim’s out-of-court statements to the school nurse under Wyo. R. Evie. 803(4), and allowing the nurse’s testimony did not violate Defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him. Specifically, the court held that the trial court did not violate Defendant’s right to confront witnesses against him by allowing the out-of-court statements of the victim, who had previously been adjudicated to be incompetent to testify. View "Schmidt v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of domestic battery and one count of strangulation of a household member for attacking his girlfriend. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court violated his constitutional right of confrontation when it refused testimony about the victim’s prior relationship from the sister of the victim’s former boyfriend. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the district court did not err by excluding the testimony under the rules of evidence and the court’s case law interpreting them. View "Garland v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in its instructions to the jury on the elements of the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree. In affirming, the Supreme Court held that the district court improperly instructed the jury on the two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree but that the errors did not prejudice Appellant. View "Nunamaker v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law