Friday, April 19, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 46

Summary of Decision April 19, 2013

Justice Hill delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-12-0150


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

Representing Appellant: Gerard R. Bosch, Law Offices of Jerry Bosch, Wilson, WY; and Tim Newcomb, Laramie, WY. Argument by Mr. Newcomb.
Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Theodore R. Racines, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Jeffrey Pope, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Mr. Pope.

Date of Decision: April 19, 2013

Facts: Travis Kovach was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on a narrow backcountry road.  As the vehicle in which Kovach was traveling passed another oncoming vehicle, the two vehicles clipped each other.  Kovach pursued the other vehicle, and after catching up with it, he assaulted the vehicle’s seventy-three-year-old driver and sixty-seven-year-old passenger.  Kovach then forced the two men back to his hunting camp, where he again assaulted them. 

A jury found Kovach guilty of numerous charges, including false imprisonment, felonious restraint and aggravated assault and battery.  On appeal, Kovach contended the prosecutor suppressed exculpatory evidence in violation of his state and federal due process rights.  He also challenged the district court’s order requiring him to disclose witness statements and its imposition of sanctions related to that order; alleged misconduct in the prosecutor’s failure to correct false or misleading testimony; alleged the district court relied on impermissible information in sentencing; and alleged the district court erred in sua sponte issuing an amended judgment correcting the fine imposed against Kovach. 

Issues:    Kovach presents eight issues on appeal, which we consolidate and restate as follows:

1.      Did the prosecutor suppress exculpatory evidence in violation of Kovach’s federal and state due process rights?

2.      Did the district court abuse its discretion and violate Kovach’s federal and state constitutional rights when it ordered him to disclose witness statements and then limited his cross-examination of two prosecution witnesses as a sanction for failure to comply with that order? 

3.      Did the prosecutor commit plain error in violation of Kovach’s due process rights by failing to correct the testimony of two witnesses? 

 4.      Did the district court commit plain error in its sentencing of Kovach by relying on uncharged misconduct evidence and by sua sponte issuing an amended judgment correcting the fine imposed against Kovach?

Holdings: The Court found no violation of Kovach’s constitutional rights in the prosecutor’s failure to disclose information to the defense or in the district court’s discovery orders. The Court further found no prosecutorial misconduct, and no plain error in the court’s sentencing decisions and order. Affirmed.

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

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