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Wyoming Court Records

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What Do You Do if You Are On Trial For a Crime in Wyoming?

Government laws exist at municipal, state, and federal levels in Wyoming. The Wyoming Penal Code (Title 7) governs the laws regarding crime. According to Wyoming laws, felonies are punishable either by death or imprisonment for more than one year. Misdemeanors do not attract a death penalty but may warrant a year in a county or local jail.

Before an individual gets charged for a crime, there must be reasonable proof of their involvement in the crime. After establishing an individual’s guilt, the law enforcement agency issues an arrest warrant or a summons to appear in court. An arrest warrant leads to law enforcement taking the alleged individual into custody. A subpoena does not require the custody of the alleged offender. However, it requires the individual to appear on a set date and time at the court.

What Percentage of Criminal Cases go to Trial in Wyoming?

The caseload statistics for Wyoming do not give a specific percentage of criminal cases that go to trial. However, an overview of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, Wyoming Judiciary Branch, shows that more criminal cases get sorted through plea bargains than through trial. In a plea bargain, the defense and prosecution come to an agreement in which the prosecution decides not to go to trial. In return for a plea bargain, the defendant hopes to receive lesser charges and a lighter sentence.

When Does a Criminal Defendant Have the Right to a Trial?

The Federal Constitution of the United States gives defendants the right to a trial. All the states, including Wyoming, adopt this as part of their criminal code. Not only do defendants have the right to a trial, but they also have a right to a public trial within the shortest time possible.

What Are The Stages of a Criminal Trial in Wyoming?

There are two types of criminal trials in Wyoming; the judge’s trial and the jury trial. A key difference is that judge’s trials do not include a jury. Here, the judge alone gets to decide the verdict. A misdemeanor case involving a jury trial uses a six-member panel. Some lower-grade felonies also use a judge’s trial or if the defendant requests one. Otherwise, juries are inclusive of felony criminal trials comprising a 12-member panel. The steps in a criminal jury trial in Wyoming are:

  • The selection of the jury
  • Opening statements by the prosecuting and defense counsels, respectively
  • Testimony by witnesses
  • Cross-examination of witnesses
  • Closing arguments by the prosecution and the defense
  • Jury instruction
  • Verdict

How Long Does it Take For a Case to Go to Trial in Wyoming?

In line with the requirement of a speedy trial, the Wyoming state laws impose that trials must start not beyond 180 days from arrest or charges, whichever is earlier. Court proceedings beyond the control of either counsel, cross-examination for competency to stand trial, request for an extension by either counsel all require some time. However, they are not a part of the computation of the 180-day window period. If a case does not go to trial within this period and for no just cause, the court will dismiss it.

What Happens When a Court Case Goes to Trial in Wyoming?

A criminal court case trial in Wyoming has three essential parts:

  • Pre-trial phase: this phase comprises arrests, indictments, arraignments, preliminary hearings, a pre-trial conference, or pre-trial motions to suppress or dismiss. Essentially this phase serves to test the case’s credibility and determine if it is worth going to the main trial. Many cases do not progress beyond the pre-trial stage. Some get dismissed, while some bypass the major trial through a plea bargain onto a sentencing hearing. It happens when the defendant enters a guilty plea.
  • The trial phase: this is the trial proper, where the prosecutor must show the court using all evidence and arguments beyond every iota of doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crimes charged for.
  • Post-trial phase: it begins immediately after the trial. A criminal trial usually ends with a verdict. The offense involved can adjust post-trial activities. For example, felony cases that may attract capital penalties undergo a further review of evidence and deliberations before a sentencing hearing. Post-trial motions may also be an appeal to reduce the sentence or for a review by a higher court of jurisdiction.

Can You Be Put on Trial Twice for the Same Crime in Wyoming?

The United States constitution provides a Double Jeopardy Clause that does not permit a defendant to get convicted twice for the same crime. It is a federal statute that all states of the federation, including Wyoming, adopt. Concurrent trials may take place, but only one conviction must emerge. It does not apply to cases of acquittal that later gets reversed upon new evidence.

How Do I Lookup a Criminal Court Case in Wyoming?

District Courts in Wyoming are courts of general jurisdiction over misdemeanors and felonies. Circuit Courts also hear misdemeanor cases and preliminary hearings for felonies. Municipal Courts have restricted jurisdiction over ordinance violations. To look up a criminal court case in the state, determine the case type. Next, locate the county where the case received a hearing. The state laws stipulate that criminal cases must get a hearing in the county where the crime occurred. Locate the court of current jurisdiction on the case. Next, schedule an appointment with the courthouse clerk to get information about the case. It helps to have the case ID, the names of the defendants or parties involved when making a request. Most requests arrive in written form and submitted by hand, postal mail, or by recommended electronic routes. Use the address list to contact the local courthouse clerk for more information.

How to Access Electronic Court Records in Wyoming

Wyoming does not keep a repository of court records in electronic form for public users. The Rules of Court in Wyoming Judicial Website provide the possibility of having an electronic format request processed. There is no guarantee that the court will grant the request. It largely depends on the competence of their facilities for processing such requests. If there are any at the county level, online record searches only provide necessary information on whether the record exists. Ultimately, all requests must go to the primary custodian, the clerk of the courthouse for records.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How Do I Remove Public Court Records in Wyoming?

Public court records in Wyoming are often void of all information that the law interprets as confidential. Suppose a document contains private and public information. Only the public components of the document will be available for access. Confidential portions include personal identifiers such as names, registration numbers, identification numbers, financial statements, contact addresses, health reports, and mental assessments. Some documents by law are confidential in their entirety. Examples are guardianship records, educational documentation for minors, adoption records, mental health evaluation records, and blood test results. These documents are under seal by law and are not available for public access unless the requester submits a court order along with the application. Some court records can go under seal upon the request of the parties involved. To get this done, file a motion with the court of current jurisdiction, stating cogent reasons for the request. The courts respond by scheduling a hearing. If the court finds the request plausible, it issues the order to seal the record.

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