Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 36

Summary of Decision March 12, 2014

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the Court. Reversed and remanded.


Docket Number: S-12-0215


Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County the Honorable W. Thomas Sullins, Judge

Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; Eric M. Alden, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Alden.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey Pope, Assistant Attorney General; Caitlin F. Young, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Young.

Date of Decision: March 12, 2014

Facts: Mr. Cooper challenges his conviction for aggravated assault by threatening to use a drawn deadly weapon. He asserts his trial counsel was ineffective because she failed to call an expert witness; the district court improperly instructed the jury on the law of self defense; and there was insufficient evidence of a threat to support the jury’s guilty verdict.

Issues: Mr. Cooper presents the following issues on appeal: I.Was Mr. Cooper denied his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel? II. Was the jury improperly instructed on the law? III. Was the evidence sufficient to support the jury’s verdict on the crime charged? Though stated in more detail, the State presents similar issues.

Holdings/Conclusion: We conclude there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict but that Mr. Cooper did not receive effective assistance of counsel and the jury was improperly instructed on self defense. We, therefore, reverse and remand for a new trial.

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

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