Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to uphold the suspension of Appellant’s driver’s license, holding that collateral estoppel did not bar the OAH from considering Appellants’ blood alcohol content (BAC) test results in the license suspension proceeding. In the companion criminal case, the municipal court dismissed Appellant’s criminal charges without prejudice without referring to the prosecution’s argument that a gap in the chain of custody of Appellant’s blood samples rendered the BAC test results inadmissible. On appeal from the OAH proceedings, Appellant argued that the OAH was collaterally estopped from considering the BAC test results in the license suspension proceeding. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that all four collateral estoppel requirements were not met under the circumstances. View "Casiano v. State ex rel. Wyoming Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order revoking Defendant’s probation and imposing the original suspended sentence, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by revoking Defendant’s probation. During the adjudicatory stage of proceedings the district court concluded that Defendant had failed to prove that he had complied the conditions of his probation and found that Defendant’s alleged violations were willful. The district court then revoked Defendant’s probation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the scope of Defendant’s appellate waiver did not include his right to appeal from the order revoking his probation; and (2) the district court did not err in its conclusions, and the court’s findings were supported by the evidence. View "Bazzle v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s Wyo. R. Crim. P. 35(b) motion for sentence reduction, holding that there was no abuse of discretion. Defendant received a sentence of fourteen to eighteen years in prison in connection with his conviction of one count of aggravated vehicular homicide. After the district court denied Defendant’s motion for sentence reduction Defendant appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court had a rational basis for denying Defendant’s motion for sentence reduction; and (2) Defendant’s argument that his sentence was illegal because it violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment was procedurally barred. View "Barrowes v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of three controlled substance charges, holding that the district court did not err by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered during a search of Defendant’s vehicle. On appeal, Defendant argued that a law enforcement officer violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment when he detained Defendant for a dog sniff and searched Defendant’s pickup truck without a warrant. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the officer’s initial stop of Defendant was justified because he was speeding; (2) the officer had reasonable, articulable suspicion that Defendant was engaged in drug crimes, justifying his further detention; and (3) the automobile exception to the warrant requirement applied to Defendant’s pickup. View "Pier v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of one count of first degree sexual assault of minor, holding that the district court erred in providing an ex parte response to a juror’s note, but the error was harmless, and that Defendant received effective assistance of counsel. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court erred when it responded to a juror note expressing confusion over DNA testimony without informing either party of the juror note and the court’s response to it, but the error was harmless; and (2) Defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel based on an alleged conflict or interest or on counsel’s purported failure to adequately pursue a theory of intentional secondary DNA transfer. View "Wall v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of felony possession of a controlled substance, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during a law enforcement officer’s search of Defendant’s vehicle. Defendant entered a conditional no contest plea to possession of a controlled substance. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in failing to suppress evidence obtained during what he characterized as an unreasonable search. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant waived his right to argue on appeal that the officer conducted an unlawful search when he leaned through the passenger window of the car and smelled marijuana; and (2) under the totality of the circumstances, the officers’ actions were objectively reasonable, and the search did not violate Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. View "Ray v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment finding Defendant’s guilty of sexual abuse of a minor in the first and second degree, holding that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the conditions and that the district court did not err when it denied the admission of character evidence of the alleged victim. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err when it denied Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal on both counts; and (2) the district court did not err when it precluded Defendant from presenting character evidence pertaining to the alleged victim on the grounds that it was inadmissible. View "Martinez v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the forfeiture of Scott Alan Addison’s $50,000 cash bond after Addison died prior to his criminal trial while subject to warrant for his arrest for violation of his bond conditions, holding that the doctrine of abatement ab initio did not apply to the bond forfeiture proceeding. Scott’s daughter, Kelly Addison, appealed the order affirming the forfeiture of Scott’s cash bond, arguing that the common law doctrine of abatement ab initio applied. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that where Scott died prior to trial, leaving no judgment of conviction or proceedings under a judgment of conviction for the court to abate and where the bond forfeiture proceeding was a collateral proceeding unrelated to any final determination of Scott’s guilt or punishment, the doctrine of ab initio did not apply. View "Addison v. Albany County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed an order of the district court denying Appellant’s motion for sentence reduction, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Appellant’s motion for sentence reduction. Appellant, an addicted offender, failed on two separate occasions to complete treatment programs, resulting in his incarceration. While incarcerated, Appellant successfully completed treatment. Appellant moved for a reduction in sentence under Wyo. R. Crim. P. 35(b). The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Addicted Offender Accountability Act does not require the release of an offender who completes treatment while incarcerated; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion or violate the AOAA when it denied Appellant’s motion for sentence reduction after he successfully completed various treatment programs during his incarceration. View "Cooper v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction of fourth offense felony driving while under the influence (DWUI), holding that the district court erred, as a matter of law, when it concluded that the loopback for a fourth offense DWUI is to the date of the conviction and not to the date of the underlying offense. The State charged Defendant with felony DWUI in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 31-5-233(b) and (e). The State based Defendant’s felony charge on his three prior convictions for DWUI within ten years of his most recent arrest. Defendant’s first offense did not occur within ten years of his fourth, but his conviction for the first for the first offense occurred within ten years of his fourth offense. Defendant appealed after pleading guilty to fourth offense felony DWUI. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the felony enhancement loopback is to the offense and not the conviction. View "Rhoads v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law