Summary of Decision June 17, 2013
Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.
Case Name: NICHOLAS M. MONTEE v. THE STATE OF WYOMING
Docket Number: S-12-0166
Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, Honorable Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge
Representing Appellant (Plaintiff/Defendant): Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Appellate Counsel; David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.
Representing Appellee (Plaintiff/Defendant): Gregory A. Phillips, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Theodore R. Racines, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Darrell D. Jackson, Director, Emily N. Thomas, Student Director, and Shaina A. Case, Student Intern, Prosecution Assistance Program, University of Wyoming, College of Law.
Date of Decision: June 17, 2013
Facts: Nicholas M. Montee was convicted of second degree arson. His claim on appeal is that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction.
Issues: Mr. Montee presents a single issue: Was there sufficient evidence to support a conviction of second degree arson? The State presents the same issue with more elaboration: Under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-102(a), a person is guilty of second degree arson if he starts a fire with intent to destroy or damage property to collect insurance. At trial, the State presented evidence that Mr. Montee admitted he started a fire in his late mother’s house, which he stood to inherit. Moreover, the State offered circumstantial evidence showing he intentionally started the fire to collect insurance proceeds. Did the State provide sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find Mr. Montee guilty?
Holdings: Mr. Montee’s argument is unpersuasive. The origin of the fire is not a “necessary fact” because it is not one of the elements of the crime of second degree arson. In Mr. Montee’s case, the State was required to prove that on or about the 13th day of February, 2011, in Laramie County, Wyoming, the Defendant, Mr. Montee, started a fire with intent to destroy or damage any property to cause collection of insurance for the loss. It was not required to prove where the fire started. After considering the evidence, the jury might have found that the fire started in the kitchen, in the bedroom closet, or in both places. Wherever the fire originated, the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find that Mr. Montee started the fire with the requisite intent. Affirmed.
Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court
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Thursday, August 01, 2013
Summary of Decision June 17, 2013