Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Summary 2011 WY 60

Summary of Decision April 12, 2011

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

Case Name: Keith Allan Tyner v. State of Wyoming

Citation: 2011 WY 60

Docket Number: S-10-0210

URL: http://wyomcases.courts.state.wy.us/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=461955

Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County, the Honorable Scott W. Skavdahl, Judge.

Representing Appellant (Defendant): Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olsen, Appellate Counsel; Wyoming Public Defender Program.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff): Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Leda M. Pojman, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: April 12, 2011

Facts: Appellant was convicted of battery under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-501(b). Because this was his third battery conviction involving a household member, the conviction was enhanced pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-501(f)(ii) to a felony. He was sentenced accordingly to a term of imprisonment of two to four years, which was suspended in favor of a split sentence of six months in county jail followed by three years of supervised probation.

Issues: In this appeal, Appellant challenged the use of his previous convictions as a basis for the felony enhancement.

Holdings: The Court found fundamental error requiring Appellant’s conviction to be vacated. The record showed Appellant was convicted of violating a statute that had been superseded at the time the alleged criminal activity occurred. Section 6-2-501(b) was amended on July 1, 2009. The 2009 amendment substantively rewrote the statute, separating out the crime of battery and the crime of unlawful contact.

Appellant’s alleged criminal activity occurred on December 23, 2009, five months after the effective date of the amendment. Appellant was charged in conformance with the language of the superseded version of § 6-2-501(b). As such, the Information failed to properly charge a criminal offense under Wyoming law. Since the criminal charge was not valid, Appellant’s conviction could not stand. Because there were no other charges against Appellant, the case was remanded with directions to dismiss without prejudice the Information.

Justice Golden delivered the opinion for the court.

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