Circuit Court Directory
The Circuit Court is a limited jurisdiction court, which operates in all 23 counties. It hears all misdemeanor criminal cases and smaller civil cases. Judges are full time and they must be lawyers.
The geographic boundaries of the circuit courts are the same as the nine judicial districts for the district courts. There are circuit courts in all 23 counties. The civil jurisdiction of the circuit courts covers cases in which the damages or recovery sought does not exceed $50,000. Circuit courts also hear family violence cases. The criminal jurisdiction includes all misdemeanors. The circuit court may also have the jurisdiction of a municipal court over ordinance violations if a municipality requests and if the Supreme Court consents to such a consolidation of courts. Finally, the circuit court may set bail for a person accused of a crime, and it conducts preliminary hearings in felony cases.
Circuit court judges are appointed by the Governor in the same manner as Supreme Court justices and district judges. They serve four-year terms. They must be attorneys admitted to the Wyoming State Bar, a qualified elector of the state, and their judicial positions are full time. A circuit court judge may submit names to the county commissioners for the appointment of magistrates to assist the judge. In those counties that do not have a residential circuit judge, full-time magistrates are appointed. There are full-time magistrates in Big Horn, Johnson, Niobrara, Platte, Washakie, and Weston counties. Some circuit court magistrates are considered to be part-time and are not required to be law trained, but if they are law-trained, they may conduct a private practice of law. Lay magistrates are primarily located in remote areas of our sparsely populated state.