Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court

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Appellant was charged and convicted of felony driving while under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, and driving without an interlock device. On appeal, Appellant argued (1) his constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated because he spent 332 days incarcerated after he was arrested and before his trial began, and (2) the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support the reckless driving conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) although the delay between Appellant’s arrest and trial was approximately eleven months, Appellant’s right to a speedy trial was not violated; and (2) the State presented sufficient evidence to support Appellant’s conviction for reckless driving. View "Mascarenas v. State" on Justia Law

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When Mother and Father divorced, Mother was awarded primary custody of the parties’ child. Father later field a petition for modification of custody and time-sharing. The district court found there had been a substantial change of circumstances and that it was in the child’s best interest for Father to be awarded custody. Mother appealed, claiming (1) the district court did not have jurisdiction over Father’s petition for modification of custody due to Father’s failure to comply with the statutory pleading requirements; (2) her due process right was violated when default was improperly entered against her; and (3) the district court abused its discretion in entering a child support order due to its failure to comply with statutory child support requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over Father’s petition; (2) Mother was given the process she was due; and (3) the district court correctly ruled on the child support issue. View "Brush v. Davis" on Justia Law

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Appellant pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to register as a sex offender. The district court sentenced Appellant to concurrent sentences of two to four and four to six years but suspended the sentences and imposed eight years probation. After Appellant violated the terms of his probation, the district court revoked Appellant’s probation and reimposed the suspended sentence. Appellant subsequently pled guilty to escape and was sentenced to three to seven years suspended in favor of four years probation to be served consecutively to the separate reimposed sentence. Thereafter, Appellant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that the district court was without the authority to “mix a sentence of imprisonment and probation.” The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Appellant to a period of imprisonment followed by a period of probation. View "Askin v. State" on Justia Law

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The Department of Family Services filed a petition to terminate Mother’s rights to her son. A default was entered against Mother after she failed to answer the Department’s petition. During a recess in the default termination hearing, Mother provided a signed and acknowledged relinquishment of her parental rights and consent to adoption of her son. The district court entered an order accepting the relinquishment and consent. Mother appealed, arguing that the district court erred in not setting aside the default and in accepting the relinquishment and consent. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding (1) Mother’s decision to provide the relinquishment and consent rendered any claimed error in declining to lift the default moot; and (2) the order accepting the relinquishment and consent was not appealable. Remanded. View "V.L.K. v. State" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of several criminal offenses, including attempted second-degree murder. The district court sentenced Appellant to thirty to forty years for the attempted murder conviction with lesser sentences to run concurrently. The district court subsequently denied Appellant's motion for sentence reduction and Appellant's ensuing motion for reconsideration. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Appellant's motions, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant's motion for reduction of sentence; (2) the district court did not violate Appellant's due process rights by denying Appellant's motion to reconsider a sentence reduction; and (2) the State did not commit prosecutorial misconduct by misstating facts in its traverse to Appellant's motion for reduction of sentence. View "Sanchez v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellant entered Alford pleas to two felony counts of obtaining public welfare benefits by misrepresentation. Appellant initially pled not guilty to the charges. Appellant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the district court erred when it failed to advise her that a guilty plea to the felonies with which she was charged could result in the loss of her right to possess firearms and her ability to be employed in professions that require carrying and using firearms. The Supreme Court reversed Appellant's conviction and remanded with instructions to reinstate her not guilty plea because the district court did not provide the required statutory firearms advisement when Appellant changed her plea. View "McEwan v. State" on Justia Law

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When the Union and the City entered into negotiations regarding the 2012-2013 wages and other employment terms for the City's fire department members, the City included in its negotiating team the mayor, one city council member, and other members of the City's administration and staff. The Union eventually filed a declaratory judgment seeking a ruling that a quorum of the city council was required to negotiate with the Union, the City could not unilaterally decide to conduct the negotiating sessions in public, and the proposals exchanged by the parties were not public records. The district court granted summary judgment declaring that a quorum of the city council was not obligated to participate in the negotiations and that the other two issues were not justiciable. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding that the statutes mandate a quorum of the city council to negotiate with the Union and that the other two issues were not justiciable. View "Int'l Ass'n of Firefighters Local Union No. 279 v. City of Cheyenne" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping, and aggravated assault and battery after he attacked the victim and hit her in the face and body with a sledgehammer. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of Appellant's previous violent behavior against the victim; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed a transcript of a telephone conversation between Appellant and the victim to be reviewed by the jury while the recording was being played at trial; and (3) Appellant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel because defense counsel requested a continuance and waived Appellant's right to a speedy trial. View "King v. State" on Justia Law

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After entering a construction contract with Appellants, Appellee filed a breach of contract and unjust enrichment action against Appellants. Appellants counterclaimed for breach of contract. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the district court's judgment against Appellants with respect to Appellee's claims under the Prime Contract Change Order (PCCO) Nos. 1 and 2; (2) reversed the district court's order dismissing Appellee's claims relating to PCCO Nos. 3 and 4; and (3) affirmed the district court's dismissal of Appellants' counterclaims. Following remand, the district court (1) granted Appellee's motion to dismiss its remaining claims; and (2) dismissed all counterclaims of Appellants, declaring them to be moot. Appellants appealed, contending that the district court erred in dismissing their counterclaims and denying their request for costs and attorney's fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that they district court did not abuse its discretion by (1) dismissing Appellant's counterclaims, as Appellee's dismissal of its claims rendered any contractual defense to the claims moot; and (2) declining to award costs and attorneys fees to Appellants, as Appellants could not be correctly classified as the prevailing party. View "Sterrett Props., LLC v. Big-D Signature Corp." on Justia Law

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After his conviction, Appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. After Appellant was sentenced, the State successfully filed a motion to correct Appellant's sentence, which was illegal, by increasing the maximum term by three months. Appellant later filed successive motions to reduce his sentence, both of which were denied. Thereafter, Appellant filed a motion to correct illegal sentence, arguing that his original sentence was illegal and asserting that his sentence had been increased without notice or an opportunity to be heard in violation of his constitutional rights. The district court set aside the order increasing Appellant's sentence and reinstated Appellant's original sentence. The Supreme Court vacated Appellant's sentence, concluding that while the increased sentence was correctly set aside, the original sentence was illegal and could not be reimposed. On remand, Appellant raised a speedy sentencing issue. The district court denied relief with respect to the speedy sentencing issue and imposed a new sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed the amended judgment and sentence, holding (1) there was no violation of Appellant's right to a speedy trial; (2) Appellant's correct sentence was legal; and (3) Appellant's double jeopardy rights were not violated when his sentence was increased by three months after he had begun serving it. View "Patterson v. State" on Justia Law