Thursday, December 13, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 157

Summary of Decision December 13, 2012

Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S 12-0142


Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, Honorable Peter G. Arnold, Judge

Representing Appellant (Plaintiff/Defendant): Pro se.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff/Defendant): No appearance.

Date of Decision: December 13, 2012

Facts: Appellant, Cody Zeitner, acting pro se, challenged the district court’s order denying her petition for modification of custody. No transcript of the hearings on the petition was created, and Ms. Zeitner’s statement of the evidence was not approved by the district court pursuant to Wyoming Rule of Appellate Procedure 3.03. Further, Ms. Zeitner’s appellate brief failed to comply with several provisions of W.R.A.P. 7.01.

Issues: Ms. Zeitner (Mother) presented the following issues:

1. Did the trial Judge’s decision to admit and review evidence in September, 2011 but fail to acknowledge it in January, 2012, a full four months later, violate due process?

2. Did the trial Judge’s personal opinion about the Plaintiff and her marriage, specifically forming opinions based on no facts or evidence, violate the Wyoming Judicial Code of Conduct?

3. Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona made over 30 rulings. Did misinterpretations and failure to clarify the Arizona[] Court[’s] 2007 and 2008 orders filed by the maternal grandparents result in an unfair ruling? Were they even relevant to these proceedings?

4. [The trial court] faxed information to the Defendant that was used to discredit the Plaintiff on a Power of Attorney that was filed by mistake. The correct and legal document was admitted into evidence. Did [the court’s] ex parte communication with the Defendant violate the Wyoming Judicial Code of Conduct?

5. Plaintiff filed [the] petition based on very specific UCCJEA[1] statutes as well as the application of Wyoming statutes on child abuse and abandonment that fell under UCCJEA guidelines. Did [the court’s] failure to rule on the issues in the Plaintiff’s initial pleading result in an unfair ruling?

Appellee (Father) did not file a brief.

Holdings: As the proponent of this appeal, it was Mother’s burden to provide a complete record for the Court’s review. Mother failed to satisfy this obligation. Consequently, the Court presumed the regularity of the district court’s judgment and the competency of the evidence upon which that judgment was based. Under the limited scope of review allowed in the absence of a hearing transcript in this case, which permitted the Court to address only those errors of law appearing in the record, the Court found no such error. Additionally, as noted above, Mother’s brief failed to adhere to the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure, most notably in its lack of cogent argument or pertinent legal authority. In light of these defects, the Court affirmed the district court’s order denying Mother’s petition for modification of custody.

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]

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