Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Summary 2011 WY 104

Summary of Decision July 6, 2011

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it is 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]

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

Case Name: Maycock v. State

Citation: 2011 WY 104

Docket Number: S-10-0208


Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County, Honorable Dan. R. Price II, Judge

Representing Appellant (Defendant): Kevin K. Kessner of Yonkee & Toner, Sheridan, Wyoming.

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

Date of Decision: July 6, 2011

Facts: Appellant challenges her conviction for obtaining property by false pretenses as a result of listing herself as married on an insurance enrollment form and obtaining insurance for her partner when in fact they were not married.

Issues: Whether the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Appellant’s employer had been defrauded of insurance premiums when the unrebutted testimony it was willing to pay the insurance premiums for the families of unmarried couples with children. Whether the trial court violated the best evidence rule when it allowed testimony about the contents of an insurance policy without requiring that the policy be entered into evidence.

Holdings: Indispensible to the establishment of the offense of obtaining property by false pretenses is proof that the victim relied on the alleged false pretense; that is, proof the alleged false pretense was the controlling factor which induced the victim to part with his property. In this case, there is no question that sufficient proof was adduced at trial to permit a reasonable juror to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Appellant acted to deceive by falsely representing her marital status on the insurance enrollment form. The question presented is whether there is sufficient proof of reliance on that misrepresentation.

The only evidence adduced at trial on this issue came from the testimony of three defense witnesses who were board members of Appellant’s employer during the time period the crime allegedly occurred. Viewed collectively, their testimony shows: (1) the employer intended to finance insurance for both employees and their families; (2) the employer broadly defined “family” to include anyone living in the same household as the employee; (3) the Appellant’s marital status was of no consequence to the employer because Appellant’s partner fit within the employer’s broad definition of family for purposes of insurance coverage; and (4) the employer would have insured Appellant’s partner even if it had known they were not legally married. No witness testified that there was reliance on Appellant’s misrepresentation or that the employer would not have paid the insurance premiums for Appellant’s partner but for that misrepresentation. In sum, there is simply no evidence that Appellant’s misrepresentation was the determining factor in the employer’s decision to pay the cost of insuring Appellant’s partner. Absent proof that Appellant obtained the cost of insurance coverage by her misrepresentation, her conviction cannot stand and must be reversed.

There is insufficient evidence to sustain Appellant’s conviction for the crime of obtaining property by false pretenses. The matter is remanded to the district court with directions that the judgment and sentence be vacated and that the amended information be dismissed with prejudice.

J. Golden delivered the opinion for the court.

No comments:

Check out our tags in a cloud (from Wordle)!