Thursday, August 09, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 109

Summary of Decision August 9, 2012

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


Docket Number: S-11-0298


Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County, Honorable Nena R. James, Judge.

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

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Stewart M. Young, Faculty Director, Prosecution Assistance Program; Joshua Beau Taylor, Student Director; and Richard E. McKinnon, Student Intern. Argument presented by McKinnon.

Date of Decision: August 9, 2012

Facts: Gary Lee Carter was tried and convicted by a jury of a single felony charge of possessing, with intent to deliver, two grams of methamphetamine in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031. The court sentenced Carter to twelve to fifteen years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary. On appeal, Carter contended that plain error occurred when the prosecutor elicited expert witness testimony that Carter was guilty of being a drug dealer. Also, Carter alleged that the prosecutor committed misconduct when arguing facts not in evidence during closing argument. The Court reversed.

Issues: Carter stated two issues for the Court’s consideration:

Plain error occurred when the prosecutor elicited expert witness testimony that Carter was guilty of being a drug dealer.

The prosecutor committed misconduct when he argued facts not in evidence in closing argument.

Holdings: The Court reversed Carter’s conviction and remanded this case for a new trial. Based upon an expert witness improperly testifying as to his opinion on Carter’s guilt and the prosecutor arguing facts not in evidence during closing, the Court could not say with confidence that Carter received a fair trial.

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

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