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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction for one count of incest, holding that the district court abused its discretion by permitting the State to use an expert to vouch for the credibility of the alleged victim, AS. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred by allowing AS's counselor to testify that the "underlying basis" of AS's PTSD was her "reported sexual abuse." The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the challenged testimony did more than "incidentally bolster" the credibility of AS; and (2) absent that testimony, there was a reasonable probability that Defendant would have enjoyed a more favorable verdict. View "Spence v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of second degree sexual abuse of a minor, third degree sexual abuse of a minor, and contributing alcohol to a minor, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering joinder of the sexual abuse charges relating to two victims and did not err in excluding evidence of a prior false sexual abuse allegation by one of the victims. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court's joinder of the offenses for trial where the court reasonably concluded that joinder of the sexual abuse charges was proper under Wyo. R. Crim. P. 8 and 13 and Defendant failed to show that he was prejudiced by the joinder; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion or infringe on Defendant's confrontation rights or his right to present a complete defense when it concluded that the victim's prior false statement was not admissible under the rape shield statute. View "Sparks v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of Defendant's motion to suppress, thus affirming Defendant's conviction and sentence, holding that the warrantless detention of Defendant did not violate the Fourth Amendment or Wyo. Const. art. I, 4, 6 and 36. Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to the charge of possession of marijuana. On appeal, Defendant argued that a police officer unlawfully detained him because he was not violating any laws as he was traveling down the highway and was stopped only pursuant to a temporary roadblock. Defendant asserted that the roadblock was illegal because the officer failed to comply with the statutory requirements set forth in Wyo. Stat. Ann. 7-17-101 through 7-17-103 and that the roadblock otherwise failed to comport with Fourth Amendment standards. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the district court properly found that the officer was directing traffic to sure public safety during a rodeo and that Defendant disobeyed the officer's signal to stop. Therefore, the initial stop was legally valid, and the odor of marijuana justified the subsequent search. View "Wright v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this case in which Appellant sought judicial review of the administrative denial of his request for preauthorization for the purchase of several unique items to treat his work-related injury, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction because Appellant filed his petition for review in a district court that did not have jurisdiction. The Wyoming Workers' Compensation Division denied Appellant's requests, and the Office of Administrative Hearings upheld the Division's determinations. Appellant filed a petition for review in the district court of the county where he was injured. The district court denied the Division's motion to dismiss and affirmed the OAH decision on the merits. The dismissed the action and vacated the district court's order, holding that the statute that provides for judicial review of the OAH decision, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 16-3-114(a), placed jurisdiction in the district court of the county where the administrative action was taken or the district court of the county where Appellant resided. View "McCallister v. State, ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of third-degree abuse of a minor, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the victims' prior consistent statements and that there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant's convictions for second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in admitting portions of the victims' Child Advocacy Project interview statements. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the prior consistent statements for rehabilitative purposes; and (2) there was sufficient evidence of sexual gratification to support Defendant's convictions for second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and that Defendant's argument concerning whether he touched one victim's "intimate parts" misstated the record. View "Jones v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction of possession of methamphetamine, holding that Defendant's right to a speedy trial under Wyo. R. Crim. P. 48 was violated when the State failed to bring him to trial within 180 days following his arraignment. On appeal, Defendant argued that his right to a speedy trial was violated and that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress the methamphetamine found in a container inside his truck. The Supreme Court reversed on the speedy trial issue and thus did not address the motion to suppress, holding that Defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated when his trial commenced 194 days after his arraignment. View "Osban v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Defendant's motion for dismissal of the charges against him as a sanction for the State's late discovery, holding that the district court properly exercised its discretion by imposing other sanctions against the State. The State charged Defendant with two counts of aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon. More than four months before trial, Defendant demanded from the State any recorded statements he or any witnesses had made. The State had access to the statements at the time of Defendant's request but did not disclose them until three days prior to trial. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charges with prejudice as a sanction for the State's violation of Wyo. R. Crim. P. 16. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, finding that the state did not act in bad faith when it violated the discovery rules and that Defendant was not prejudiced by the error. Defendant was subsequently convicted of both counts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss because the court's decision to offer a one-week continuance as a remedy for the violation of discovery rules, along with stipulated exclusion of evidence, was an appropriate remedy under the circumstances. View "Requejo v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this dispute over custody of a child, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting Mother's motion to strike Father's motion for an order relinquishing permanent child custody jurisdiction to the tribal court, holding that the district court properly concluded that it retained exclusive continuing jurisdiction to make permanent custody determinations regarding the child. The district court granted Mother primary custody of the parties' child. Father, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, kept the child on the South Dakota reservation and refused to relinquish custody to Mother. Father sought orders from the district court and the trial court transferring jurisdiction over the custody matter to the tribal court. The tribal court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction because the custody action was pending in the district court and Mother was not a tribal matter. In the district court, Father argued that the tribal court acquired jurisdiction over the custody matter by issuing emergency child custody and/or protection orders. The district court granted Mother's motion to strike Father's motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly concluded that it retained exclusive continuing jurisdiction to make permanent custody determinations regarding the child. View "Mitchell v. Preston" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court enforcing the terms of Appellant's divorce decree at the request of her late ex-husband's estate, holding that there was no error in the district court's decision. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court erred by not modifying the terms of the divorce settlement agreement and the divorce decree, erred in failing to apply laches, and erred in concluding that Appellant was not entitled to storage fees or mortgage contributions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that a divorce agreement that has merged into a divorce decree cannot be modified by oral agreement of the parties, and Acton v. Acton, 406 P.3d 1279 (Wyo. 2017) is overruled because it states otherwise; (2) Appellant failed to demonstrate that she was entitled to relief from the decree under Wyo. R. Civ. P. 60(b); (3) Appellant could not use the doctrine of laches to prevent enforcement of the judgment; and (4) the district court properly held that Appellant was not entitled to storage fees or mortgage contributions. View "Meiners v. Meiners" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained after a traffic stop, asserting that the stop's "air of pretext" should cause the Court to reevaluate whether a dog sniff to the exterior of a vehicle require "a righter legal framework" under the Wyoming Constitution than the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant failed to present cogent argument under the Wyoming Constitution on appeal. View "Gibson v. State" on Justia Law