Wyoming Court Records
How Does the Wyoming District Court Work?
Wyoming District Courts are trial courts of general jurisdiction. Wyoming classifies its 23 counties into nine judicial divisions, and each district court serves the counties within the judicial district. There are 23 district courts in Wyoming, with one in each county. Wyoming district courts hear:
- Civil cases, including:
- Child Support
- Felony criminal cases
- Juvenile cases
- Probate matters
- Appeals of cases from lower courts
The Wyoming District Court has unlimited jurisdiction, except for the following cases, which the lower courts are responsible for:
- Small claims
- Forcible entry
- Civil cases involving less than $50,000
Aggrieved parties may appeal district court judgments to the Wyoming Supreme Court. Wyoming has 23 district judges. Wyoming District Court judges travel to hear cases in other counties within the judicial district. Additionally, district court judges visit other districts to assist the sitting judge with the caseload when necessary.
As with Wyoming Supreme Court justices, the Judicial Nomination Commission presents a list of nominated candidates, out of which the State Governor appoints judges. Wyoming district court judges serve six-year terms and may contest for retention in general elections. To qualify as a Wyoming district court judge, candidates must be:
- 28 years or older.
- A citizen of the United States
- A Wyoming resident for at least two years
The retirement age for Wyoming district court judges is 70.
The Uniform Rules for District Courts of the State of Wyoming provide guidelines for District Court procedures. Some of the rules are:
- Rule 1: Apart from unincorporated associations and corporations, any other party may appear in the District Court pro se. Owners of sole proprietor businesses and partnerships may appear in court on behalf of the company. Attorneys may only represent unincorporated associations and corporations, and the attorney must attend all court hearings on the client’s behalf.
- Rule 2: Attorneys representing parties to a case may not withdraw representation, except when the court orders a withdrawal. Additionally, if a party to a case wishes to proceed pro se, meaning without a lawyer, such a person may submit a statement to the court stating the intention. The court will allow the attorney’s withdrawal from the case in this instance.
- Rule 3: Subject to the District Court’s approval, attorneys who are not members of the Wyoming State Bar but are members of other state bars may appear in District Courts. These attorneys’ role is to represent parties to a case if such an attorney is associated with a Wyoming attorney and fulfills all other requirements. The Wyoming attorney must fully participate in preparation for the case.
- Rule 4: When the District Court assigns a case to the Circuit Court, parties to the case who do not consent to the assignment must notify the District Court within ten (10) days of the District Court’s order of assignment.
- Rule 5: According to state statutes, District Courts may go to any measure deemed necessary to ensure that the courtroom remains secure. County Sheriffs must attend all court hearings and provide deputies to help maintain order in the District Courtroom.
- Rule 6: An acknowledged copy of every document served in a case must be filed with the court.
- Rule 7: The District Court Clerk may move certain cases from the clerk’s office for court use; however, the clerk must not remove files for longer than five days. Certain files, including water irrigation and workers’ compensation files, may not be removed from the District Court Clerk’s office at all.
- Rule 8: The court may conduct phone conference calls for case proceedings. However, parties to the case may be required to cover the charges.
Wyoming district courts have court reporters and court clerks. The court reporter is present at all court proceedings and keeps records of the proceedings. Upon request, the court reporter provides transcripts of district court proceedings. The District Court Clerk maintains court records and case files, including motions, orders, judgments, complaints, opinions, and answers. The court clerk also receives and disburses fees paid to the district court. The District Court Clerk also manages jury pools, maintains court registry, issues service processes, processes passport applications, and administers appeals. In some counties, District Court Clerks also perform naturalization ceremonies.
While district court judges hire court reporters, voters elect the court clerk. The District Court charges $10 for each record search. Requesting parties must submit written requests and pay the required fees. The District Court charges fees for the production of case record copies. The first page of each document costs $1, while additional pages cost $.50 each. Fax pages are $1 each. Parties interested in obtaining district records may contact the court clerk in each county or visit the courthouses at the Wyoming Judicial website’s addresses.