District Court Directory
The District Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction. A district court exists in all 23 counties organized into nine judicial districts. Felony criminal cases, large civil cases, and juvenile and probate matters are decided in the district court.
The district courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction in the state. The district judges preside over felony criminal and civil cases as well as the juvenile and probate matters. They also hear appeals from lower court decisions. The jurisdiction of the district courts is unlimited except for civil cases under $50,000, small claims cases and misdemeanors, which go to the circuit courts. As a result, the work of the district courts includes the most serious cases and controversies in the state.
There are 22 district judges in the state organized into nine judicial districts. District court is held in each county seat so that the judges must regularly travel to all counties within their district to hear the cases that arise there. In addition, district judges travel to other districts when necessary to assist another judge with the workload of the district.
District judges are chosen like justices of the Supreme Court. They serve six-year terms. The Governor appoints a judge from a list of three qualified persons submitted by the Judicial Nominating Commission, and the provisions for retention are the same as for Supreme Court justices. A district judge must be an attorney at least 28 years old who is a United States citizen and a resident of Wyoming for at least two years. Like Supreme Court justices, district judges must retire at the age of 70.
Each district judge hires a court reporter. The primary duties of the reporter are to keep a verbatim record of court proceedings and to prepare a written transcript of proceedings when requested. Transcripts are often necessary for appeals or some further legal action in a case. A court reporter, therefore, must always be present at trials and certain other important court proceedings. The court reporter may also serve as the district judge's assistant in administrative and other office duties.
The clerk of district court is the record keeper of the court. Each county maintains a clerk of court's office for the district court. The clerk maintains case files, which include all the written records of a case-complaint, answers, pleadings, orders, judgment, and written opinion, if any. In addition, the clerk keeps a docket showing all cases filed and decided in the court, receives and transmits all fees and monies deposited with the court, and manages the calling and initial examination of jurors for the court. The clerk is an elected official of the county.
Some district courts have full-time or part-time law clerks. Like the Supreme Court staff attorneys, the law clerks assist the judges in legal research and help with other duties the district judges may assign to them.