Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 54

Summary of Decision April 23, 2014

Justice Fox delivered the opinion for the Court. Reversed and remanded.

Case Name: GREGORY MATTHEWS v. THE STATE OF WYOMING

Docket Number: S-13-0160

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Original Proceeding Petition for Writ of Review, District Court of Teton County, the Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge

Representing Appellant: Robert E. Schroth, Sr. of Schroth & Schroth, LLC, Jackson, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jennifer E. Zissou, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Zissou.

Date of Decision: April 23, 2014

Facts: Gregory Matthews challenges the district court order affirming his circuit court conviction for interference with a peace officer. Mr. Matthews entered into a conditional plea agreement, pursuant to which a charge of driving under the influence against him was dropped, and he pled guilty to the interference charge, reserving the right to appeal three issues. The district court affirmed the circuit court’s rulings on those three issues, and Mr. Matthews filed a petition for writ of review, which was granted by this Court.

Issues: The parties raise several issues. We will address only one issue that was not addressed by either party, because it is dispositive: Did Mr. Matthews enter a proper conditional guilty plea pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 11 (a)(2)?

Holdings/Conclusion: We reverse and remand this matter to the district court with instructions to proceed in accordance with this opinion.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

Summary 2014 WY 53

Summary of Decision April 23, 2014

Justice Hill delivered the opinion of the Court. Affirmed.

Case Name: RENE VARGAS v. THE STATE OF WYOMING

Docket Number: S-13-0084

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Carbon County, the Honorable Wade E. Waldrip, Judge

Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; and David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Westling.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; and Jennifer Zissou, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Zissou.

Date of Decision: April 23, 2014

Facts: Rene Vargas was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and two counts of conspiracy to take a controlled substance into a state penal institution. On appeal he contends that his right to speedy trial was violated and that the district court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to continue.

Issues: 1) Was Mr. Vargas denied a right to a speedy trial due to the fact that the time between his arraignment and trial was 201 days, in violation of the protections afforded by W.R.Cr.P. 48? 2) Did the trial court abuse its discretion by denying Mr. Vargas’s motion for continuance without good cause and thereby denying Mr. Vargas an opportunity to prepare for trial?

Holdings/Conclusion: Vargas’s right to speedy trial was not violated under the constitution or W.R.Cr.P. 48. Also, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Vargas’s motion for continuance. We affirm.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note, when you look at the opinion, that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quotation, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance.]

Summary 2014 WY 52

Justice Davis delivered the opinion of the Court. Affirmed in part and Reversed in part.

Case Name: WILLIAM E. MECKEM, individually; LORRAINE W. MECKEM, individually; and DUBOIS HEIGHTS SUBDIVISION, INC., a Wyoming corporation v. WILLIAM CARTER and DANNA CARTER, Husband and Wife

Docket Number: S-13-0172

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Fremont County, the Honorable Norman E. Young, Judge

Representing Appellants: William L. Miller of Miller & Fasse, P.C., Riverton, Wyoming

Representing Appellees: Aaron J. Vincent of Vincent Law Office, Riverton, Wyoming

Date of Decision: April 22, 2014

Facts: Appellants William and Lorraine Meckem challenge an order holding them in civil contempt for violating a judgment directing them to remove obstructions from a road easement that traverses their property.

Issues: 1) Whether the district court exceeded its authority to amend its original judgment with its order of contempt? 2) Whether the district court erred in finding that the Appellants were in contempt of court?

Holdings/Conclusion: We affirm the district court’s determination that Appellants’ conduct was contumacious. However, the district court erred when it ordered Appellants to pay a penalty of $100 per day to the court until the obstructions are removed, and we therefore reverse that part of the order.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note, when you look at the opinion, that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quotation, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance.]

Summary 2014 WY 51

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion of the Court. Affirmed.

Case Name: KIMBERLY SHINDELL v. ROGER SHINDELL

Docket Number: S-13-0117

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, the Honorable Marvin L. Tyler, Judge

Representing Appellant: Robert E. Schroth, Sr., Jackson, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Roger Shindell, pro se.

Guardian ad Litem: Jean A. Day, Jackson, Wyoming. No appearance.

Date of Decision: April 22, 2014

Facts: Kimberly Shindell (Mother) appeals from the district court’s order finding her in civil contempt of court for refusing to comply with the district court’s orders regarding Roger Shindell’s (Father) rights to visitation and communication with their two daughters. She challenges the district court’s finding of contempt and the remedies it imposed.

Issues: Mother presents the following issues on appeal:

1. DID THE DISTRICT COURT ERR IN FINDING APPELLANT/MOTHER IN INDIRECT CIVIL CONTEMPT?

2. DID THE DISTRICT COURT ABUSE ITS DISCRETION, COMMIT PROCEDURAL ERROR, AND VIOLATE A PRINCIPLE OF LAW BY ORDERING APPELLANT/MOTHER TO PAY FOR ALL TRAVEL-RELATED COSTS FOR HER CHILDREN TO VISIT APPELLEE/FATHER?

3. DID THE DISTRICT COURT ABUSE ITS DISCRETION, COMMIT PROCEDURAL ERROR, AND VIOLATE A PRINCIPLE OF LAW BY ORDERING APPELLANT/MOTHER TO POST A $10,000.00 BOND IN THE EVENT SHE INTERFERES WITH HER CHILDREN VISITING APPELLEE/FATHER?

4. DID THE DISTRICT COURT ABUSE ITS DISCRETION, COMMIT PROCEDURAL ERROR, AND VIOLATE A PRINCIPLE OF LAW BY ORDERING APPELLANT/MOTHER TO PAY APPELLEE/FATHER’S ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS?

Father, appearing pro se, claims the district court properly found Mother in contempt of court and its remedies were appropriate. He also asserts that certain aspects of the district court’s order were not appealable and he is entitled to sanctions against Mother and her appellate counsel.

Holdings/Conclusion: The district court did not abuse its discretion by finding Mother in indirect civil contempt of court. [T]he district court did not abuse its discretion by requiring Mother, as part of the sanctions for her contempt, to pay the girls’ travel expenses for winter break 2012-13 and spring break 2013. The district court did not abuse its discretion by requiring Mother to post a bond in an effort to hold her accountable to the court’s visitation order and provide immediate monetary security to Father in the event she refuses to comply. The district court stated in its findings of fact that it was ordering Mother to pay Father’s attorney fees because she had acted in defiance of the divorce decree and other court orders. Given the district court’s clear authority to award attorney fees and costs under these circumstances, the district court’s order was not erroneous. Affirmed.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note, when you look at the opinion, that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quotation, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance.]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 50

Summary of Decision April 17, 2014

Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.

Case Name: RONALD S. KAMMERER, JR. v. THE STATE OF WYOMING

Docket Number: S-13-0070

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County the Honorable Michael N. Deegan, Judge

Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Appellate Counsel; Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Morgan.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey S. Pope, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Mr. Delicath.

Date of Decision: April 17, 2014

Facts: Appellant, Ronald S. Kammerer, Jr., challenges his conviction for failure to register as a sex offender, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-19-302(j) and Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-19-307(a)(d). He contends that Wyoming’s Sex Offender Registration Act (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 7-19-301 through 7-19-307) (“WSORA” or “the Act”) violates the prohibitions against ex post facto laws contained in the United States and Wyoming Constitutions.

Issues: Appellant presents the following issues: 1. Does Wyoming’s Sex Offender Registration Act violate the United States Constitution, Art. 1, § 10, prohibition against enacting ex post facto laws? 2. Does Wyoming’s Sex Offender Registration Act violate the Wyoming Constitution’s prohibition of ex post facto laws?

The State presents an additional issue: 1. Did the district court commit plain error by not finding that the Wyoming Constitution provides greater protection than its federal analog and that the Wyoming Sex Offender Registration Act violates that greater protection?

Holdings/Conclusion: We agree with the State. Both constitutions clearly prohibit the passage of ex post facto laws. Consequently, in order to find that the Wyoming Constitution provides “greater” protection, we would be forced to conclude that Wyoming’s definition of an ex post facto law, as applied to this case, is broader than the definition of that term as it is used in the United States Constitution. We have no reason to draw such a conclusion, and Appellant has provided no cogent argument or persuasive authority to support a claim that Wyoming’s definition of an ex post facto law is broader than the federal definition. To the contrary, we expressly adopted the Supreme Court’s definition of an ex post facto law, as one “which makes more burdensome the punishment for a crime, after its commission,” in Smith v. State, ¶ 55, 199 P.3d at 1068. Accordingly, we find no merit in Appellant’s claim that the Wyoming Constitution provides greater protection against ex post facto laws than its federal counterpart. Affirmed.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

Summary 2014 WY 49


Summary of Decision April 17, 2014

Justice Burke delivered the opinion of the Court. Reversed and Remanded.

Case Name: AUSTON DAVIS COY v. THE STATE OF WYOMING

Docket Number: S-13-0136

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County, the Honorable John. R. Perry, Judge

Representing Appellant: P. Craig Silva, Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C., Casper, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey S. Pope, Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: April 17, 2014

Facts: Appellant, Auston Davis Coy, was arrested in 2011 and charged with three crimes. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Coy was on probation for crimes he had committed in 2008. In addition to charging Mr. Coy with the new crimes, the State also sought to revoke Mr. Coy’s probation. Prior to trial, Mr. Coy and the State entered into a plea agreement. The terms of that plea agreement are the crux of this appeal. Mr. Coy contends that the sentence imposed was not in accordance with his plea agreement. He seeks modification of the sentence to conform to the terms of the plea agreement.

Issue: Did the district court enter an illegal sentence?

Holdings/Conclusion: We find that the sentence imposed was not in accord with the plea agreement and was an illegal sentence because it cannot be completed in a “single stretch” or without interruption by another prison sentence. We reverse and remand for entry of an amended sentence.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note, when you look at the opinion, that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quotation, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance.]

Friday, April 11, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 48

Summary of Decision April 11, 2014

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion of the Court. Reversed and Remanded.

Case Name: MARIAN I. ERDELYI v. BRADLEY T. LOTT

Docket Number: S-13-0116

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, the Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge

Representing Appellant: C.M. Aron and Galen B. Woelk of Aron and Hennig, LLP, Laramie, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Woelk.

Representing Appellee: James K. Lubing and Leah K. Corrigan of Lubing & Corrigan, LLC, Jackson, Wyoming. Argument by Ms. Corrigan.

Date of Decision: April 11, 2014

Facts: Marian I. Erdelyi filed an action against her stockbroker, Bradley T. Lott, for fraud and constructive fraud. After a trial, a jury found that Mr. Lott committed constructive fraud but that Ms. Erdelyi knew or in the exercise of due diligence should have known before February 10, 2007, that the fraud had occurred. Based on the jury’s findings, the district court entered judgment holding Ms. Erdelyi’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations and dismissed the action.
On appeal, Ms. Erdelyi contends the district court erred in instructing the jury on negligence and comparative fault in this fraud action. She also asserts the district court erred in instructing the jury, for purposes of applying the statute of limitations, to determine whether she knew or should have known with the exercise of due diligence before February 10, 2007, that the fraud had occurred, because there was no evidence to support the instruction.

Issues: Whether the trial court’s jury instructions, taken as a whole, misstated the law in the following particulars: (A) By instructing the jury to compare a victim’s fault on a claim of fraud, and including the victim on the verdict form; (B) By imposing a negligence standard on [Ms. Erdelyi] with regard to discovery of her stockbroker’s fraud; and (C) By instructing the jury to determine the date [Ms. Erdelyi] discovered her stockbroker’s fraud, when there was no evidence of any such discovery presented.

Holdings/Conclusion: We hold that when the law is properly applied, the evidence did not support a finding that Ms. Erdelyi could have discovered the fraud sooner and it was error to dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations. We, therefore, reverse the judgment and remand for a new trial.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note, when you look at the opinion, that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quotation, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance.]

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