Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court

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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

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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 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

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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

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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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of four counts of third-degree sexual assault related to his abuse of three minors, holding that the district court's challenged evidentiary rulings were without error. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting photos and videos pursuant to Wyo. R. Evid. 404(b); (2) the trial court did not err in overruling Defendant's objection to the admission of a vibrator based on the State's failure to list the exhibit in its pretrial disclosure; and (3) Defendant's failure to timely object to evidence on the basis of foundation precluded appellate review of that claim. View "Mayhew v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of felony possession of marijuana and possession with intent to deliver, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless search; (2) the district court did not commit reversible error in permitting the introduction of improper rebuttal evidence; (3) the prosecutor did not commit prejudicial misconduct through the use of improper evidence and argument; and (4) defense counsel did not provide ineffective assistance by failing to object to the admission of certain rebuttal testimony and the State's alleged improper statements during closing arguments. View "Dixon v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's drug-related convictions, holding that the district court did not err by denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence or his motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial and that sufficient evidence supported Defendant's conviction of felony possession of methamphetamine in a liquid form, as contemplated by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 35-7-1031. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant's motion to suppress, which challenged the validity of the search warrant, was properly denied; (2) Defendant was not denied his right to a speedy trial under Rule 48 of the Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure or the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution; and (3) sufficient evidence supported the jury's finding the jury's finding that the liquid contained in Defendant's water pipe, which tested positive for methamphetamine, constituted "a controlled substance in liquid form" under the plain language of section 35-7-1031(c)(i)(B). View "Mathewson v. State" on Justia Law