Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed all of Defendant’s convictions except for his conviction for obtaining property by false pretenses, which the Court reversed, holding that the evidence was insufficient to support Defendant’s conviction for obtaining property by false pretenses. The Court further held (1) sufficient evidence supported Defendant’s convictions for performing the duties of a sheriff prior to qualifying and for submitting false claims with intent to defraud; and (2) as regards Defendant’s convictions for acting as a public officer prior to qualifying, submitting false claims, and wrongfully taking or disposing of property, Defendant did not demonstrate any cumulative error that could have constituted prejudice or rendered his trial unfair. View "Haskell v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol (fourth or subsequent offense within ten years), holding that the State presented sufficient evidence to support Appellant’s conviction. The State charged Appellant with driving under the influence, Appellant’s fourth offense within ten years, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 31-5-233(b)(i). A jury returned a guilt verdict on the charge of driving under the influence and made a supplemental finding that Appellant had three previous convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol within ten years. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to support the conviction. View "Hyatt v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for fraudulently altering a government record, holding that a printed copy of an unsigned an unfixed bond form qualifies as a government record, as defined by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-3-604(b). On appeal, Defendant argued that he did not violate section 6-3-604 because the bond order he altered was not a government record as defined by statute. Defendant also claimed that the State did not provide sufficient evidence to show that he acted with the specific intent required by section 6-3-604. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the bond order in this case was a government record; and (2) the State’s evidence was sufficient to show that Defendant had the requisite specific intent to act fraudulently - or to secure an advantage he was not entitled to - when he altered the document. View "Mathewson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for felony possession of anabolic steroids found in a search of his vehicle. On appeal, Defendant challenged the denial of his motion to suppress the drugs found in his vehicle, arguing (1) the peace officer lacked probable cause to stop Defendant; (2) the peach officer lacked subsequent reasonable suspicion to detain; (3) the canine drug sniff while inside Defendant’s vehicle constituted an illegal search and seizure; and (4) the peace officer did not have additional probable cause to search absent the illegal dog sniff. The Supreme Court held that (1) because Appellant failed to present the district court with his arguments about probable cause for the stop or reasonable suspicion to continue his attention, these claims will not be considered on appeal; and (2) the circumstances established probable cause to search Defendant’s vehicle, even before the dog indicated there were drugs in the trunk. View "Pier v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for aggravated assault and battery and breach of peace, thus rejecting Defendant’s claims of error on appeal. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court properly instructed the jury regarding the definition of “threatened to use” as defined in Wyoming law; (2) the district court abused its discretion when it admitted uncharged misconduct evidence at trial without first conducting a Gleason analysis, but the error was harmless; and (3) the State presented sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s aggravated assault and battery conviction by presenting evidence that Defendant “threatened to use a drawn deadly weapon” against Gordon Johnson. View "Birch v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment and sentence entered after Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally exploiting a vulnerable adult, holding that the district court did not err when it held that the State had met its burden of proving the amount of restitution. The district court ordered Defendant to pay $43,821.30 in restitution to the man whose resources Defendant depleted, eighty-nine-year-old Wallace Reaves. The Supreme Court upheld the award of restitution, holding that the evidence provided a reasonable basis for calculating the amount of restitution, and therefore, there was sufficient evidence to support the district court’s findings. View "Voelker v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of eight felonies and holding that Defendant had failed to prove that he was not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect. Defendant was charged with eight felonies, including aggravated assault and battery, aggravated robbery, and theft. Defendant pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect (NGMI). After a bench trial the court found Defendant guilty on all eight counts. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in concluding that he failed to prove he was not guilty by reason of mental illness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the applicable standard of review is whether, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, a rational trier of fact could have found that the defendant failed to prove the defense by a preponderance of the evidence; and (2) under this standard, Appellant failed to prove the NGMI defense by a preponderance of the evidence. View "Gabbert v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s second conviction for kidnapping and affirmed his remaining convictions, holding that Appellant’s convictions and sentences for two counts of kidnapping violate double jeopardy. Appellant was convicted of strangulation of a household member, domestic battery, and two counts of kidnapping. The convictions arose from a single violent episode involving Appellant’s girlfriend. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the State to introduce evidence of uncharged misconduct; (2) the two convictions for kidnapping violated Appellant’s protections against double jeopardy because Appellant’s actions supported only one continuing kidnapping offense; and (3) the separate convictions for domestic battery and strangulation of a household member did not violate Appellant’s protections against double jeopardy because Appellant did not satisfy his burden to prove that the two convictions were based on the same incident. View "Volpi v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated certain portions of the order of the district court fixing restitution after Defendant pleaded no contest to obtaining welfare benefits by misrepresentation. Following Defendant’s no-contest plea, the district court fixed restitution at $18,733. Defendant filed a motion requesting that the district court find she was unable to pay the restitution. After a hearing, the district court issued an order that fixed the amount of Defendant’s restitution at $18,733 but did not require Defendant to pay it, finding that she lacked the ability to do so. Nevertheless, the district court allowed the State to reduce $18,733 to a civil judgment. The Supreme Court held (1) because the district court did not order restitution, it erred as a matter of law when it allowed the State to reduce $18,733 to a civil judgment; and (2) the district court erred as a matter of law by failing either to order restitution or specifically find that there exists no reasonable probability that Defendant will be able to pay restitution in the future. View "McEwan v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and battery, and conspiracy to commit theft. On appeal, Defendant argued that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support three of his convictions. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault and battery. View "Jordin v. State" on Justia Law