Wyoming Judicial Branch

News Archive

  • Advancing Court Technology Initiatives – Creating Greater Efficiency and Effectiveness in the Judiciary and Enhancing Public Trust
    Date Posted: 02/24/2017

    The Office of Court Administration is currently working on a number of large information technology projects that will improve efficiency and effectiveness in our court system, increase access to court records, and increase public trust in our judiciary. These projects include the implementation of a new case management system in both the district and circuit courts, electronic filing in the district courts, judges’ tools in the district courts, which will allow a judge to more efficiently find case information and organize it in a manner that best suits each individual judge, public access, and a new jury management system. Nearly ten committees have been formed to tackle these large-scale projects. Justice Davis at the Supreme Court is overseeing the projects, as well as the various committees, which encompass six judges from both circuit and district courts, nearly fifteen clerks from both levels of the court system, judicial assistants, a court reporter and a number of attorneys. We hope to include input from all stakeholders to ensure that the systems produced work as effectively and efficiently for the State of Wyoming as possible. A number of the committees are already actively participating in configuring the various systems to ensure their workability across the state.

    Court administration is currently on schedule to begin piloting the new case management system in the summer of 2018, followed by a roll out across the state beginning in January 2019. Once the roll out is complete both circuit and district courts will be using the same system, which will promote uniformity. The vendor, Justice Systems, Inc. (JSI), has provided the case management system in the circuit courts for a number of years, and will be providing its newest system, FullCourt Enterprise, to our courts. The circuit courts and court administration has worked with JSI for many years, and believes they will be a worthy and productive partner in this newest endeavor. The district court and circuit court case management system committees have had a number of meetings and a long two-day work session, with each committee, to begin working through the system and determining how it should be configured to best suit the business practices of the clerks.

    Court administration will also provide aiSmartBench, a product of Mentis Technology, to the district court judges, which will allow each judge to pull different information from a number of resources to assist in working through their cases. Judges will also be able to share information seamlessly with their chambers and with court clerks if they so choose. The committee assigned to configure aiSmartBench will begin work shortly, and the application is scheduled to be rolled out along with the new case management system to begin in the summer of 2018.

    Court administration is currently working with a company called Tybera Inc. to provide an electronic filing system for the district courts. Because electronic filing sits on top of, and relies heavily on the case management system, the roll-out of electronic filing in the district courts will come on the heels of the roll out of the new case management system. Once the configuration of this system ramps up we anticipate in-depth participation from attorneys around the state.

    Providing easily accessible information from the courts is critical to ensuring public trust in the judiciary. With the help of the public access committee, court administration will build a new system to provide access to the public which can be used from any place with an internet connection and a browser. This committee will begin working on the public access components in the next few weeks, and the new system will be built and ready for roll out along with the new case management system and judges’ tools.

    Another project which will instill confidence in the judiciary from the point of view of the public is the new jury management system. The new system will provide a convenient method for citizens to access the court and provide the requisite information to the court when called for jury duty. Citizens will be able to answer questionnaires online, and will be given options regarding the method of communication with the courts – email, text, or phone call. The jury lists will also be more accurate through partnerships with vital statistics and National Change of Address.

    The timelines for these projects are ambitious, but with the efforts of the hard-working administrative staff and the essential contributions from stakeholders, we are confident that these timelines can be realized. With the completion of these projects the judiciary and the public can be confident that justice will be served in a more efficient and effective manner.

    The information contained herein will be updated no later than May 1, 2017.

  • Wyoming Supreme Court Welcomes New Clerk of the Supreme Court
    Date Posted: 02/24/2017

    Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice E. James Burke is pleased to announce that Patricia Bennett, MPA, JD, has accepted the position as Clerk of the Supreme Court. Ms. Bennett’s first day at the Court will be February 27, 2017.

    Patty Bennett is an attorney dedicated to promoting access to the Wyoming legal system. In her private practice, Ms. Bennett focused primarily on criminal defense and family law. Ms. Bennett also worked a multitude of cases as a contract public defender as well as representing civil indigent clients. Most recently, Ms. Bennett and her husband, Michael, operated a law firm in Rawlins, Wyoming. Patty received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University. Later she earned a MPA and a JD from the University of Wyoming. In 2014, Ms. Bennett retired from the Wyoming Army National Guard where she served in several assignments before completing her military career as a Judge Advocate.

    “It is a tremendous honor to continue serving Wyoming in my new role as the Clerk of the Supreme Court. I hope my diverse career and life experiences will be an asset to the Supreme Court and the people of Wyoming,” Ms. Bennett said.

  • Carol Thompson Retirement
    Date Posted: 02/22/2017

    All Rise . . . to congratulate Supreme Court Clerk Carol Thompson on her upcoming retirement and to welcome Patty Bennett as the new Clerk of Court.

    Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice E. James Burke recently announced the retirement of the Clerk of Court Carol Thompson, effective February 28, 2017. Carol has served as Clerk since her appointment to the position in February, 2012. Carol joined the Court in August 1994, when she was appointed Deputy Clerk, serving in that position for 12 years until she became Chief Deputy Clerk in 2006. During her tenure as Clerk, Ms. Thompson expanded public accessibility to more complete dockets by implementing the scanning of documents that were paper filings. No longer do gaps appear on the Court’s docket when one or more parties to a case is not an electronic filer. In an effort to bring e-filing to the Court’s entire docket, she advocated for electronic filing in attorney and judicial disciplinary cases. Ms. Thompson has dedicated her career to serving the public and to that end when she learned of a sister state’s practitioner’s guide for oral argument, she revised it for Wyoming attorneys and their staffs; it is now posted on the Judicial Branch website. Carol served on the Permanent Rules Advisory Committee - Appellate Division; the Wyoming State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB); and the Convention Assistance Committee. She is also a member of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks. Carol commented, “It has truly been a pleasure to serve the citizens of the State of Wyoming as first a Deputy then Clerk of the Supreme Court. I would be remiss if I did not give Clerk of Court Judy Pacheco (retired) special thanks for her guidance throughout much of my career. I am proud to be part of one of the first state appellate courts to have electronic filing with an accessible public docket. I wish Ms. Bennett success in her appointment and hope that the legacy of public service this office has established continues under her leadership.”

    “Carol has served with great dedication and distinction for nearly 23 years,” said Chief Justice Burke. “Her contributions to this Court, the judicial branch and the citizens of this State have been significant. She will be missed. We wish Carol and her family the best in retirement.”

    Chief Justice Burke also announced that Patty Bennett has been chosen to replace Carol Thompson as Wyoming Supreme Court Clerk. Ms. Bennett is a graduate of the University of Wyoming College of Law. She was most recently a partner in the Bennett Law Group, P.C., of Rawlins, Wyoming, and has practiced in both Federal and State courts.

  • February 2017 Attorney Recommendations
    Date Posted: 02/14/2017

    The Wyoming Supreme Court is pleased to announce the names of newly recommended attorneys from the Board of Law Examiners and the Character and Fitness Committee for the month of February, 2017

  • State of the Judiciary 2017.
    Date Posted: 01/26/2017

    Delivered by Chief Justice Burke before a Joint Session of the Wyoming Legislature at the Jonah Business Center.

  • Judge Kricken’s Robing Ceremony Held January 12, 2017
    Date Posted: 01/24/2017

    In the Albany County District Courtroom, before a standing-room-only crowd of family, friends, and colleagues, Tori R.A. Kricken was sworn in as District Judge for the Second Judicial District, Albany County, Wyoming. Judge Kricken was appointed by Governor Mead to fill the vacancy created by Judge Jeffrey Donnell’s retirement. Chief Justice E. James Burke presided over the ceremony, and remarks were made by several special guests: Governor Matt Mead, Professor John Burman, retired District Judge Jeffrey Donnell, and Dawnessa Snyder, Vice President of the Wyoming State Bar.

    Judge Kricken received her law degree, as well as bachelor’s degree in business administration, from the University of Wyoming. She most recently worked as a staff attorney for the Second Judicial District. She previously worked in private practice in Laramie and as a hearing examiner for the Office of Administrative Hearings in Cheyenne. Judge Kricken has served as District Court Commissioner, Circuit Court Magistrate, and DUI/Drug Court Judge—all for the Second Judicial District—and as a Municipal Court Magistrate in Laramie since 2014. For the past 12 years, she has also taught as a visiting or adjunct professor at the UW College of Law.

    Judge Kricken commented that she is “dedicated to upholding the honor and integrity of the Court and to serving the citizens of Albany County and the State of Wyoming.”

  • Judge Harrington Facilitates Outreach & Education In Big Horn County
    Date Posted: 01/06/2017

    On December 14, 2016, Judge Harrington, Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial District, facilitated a training with the Big Horn County victims advocacy program (CARES) in Basin, Wyoming. Those in attendance were from Wyoming CARES, the Lovell, Basin, Greybull and Cowley Police Departments, the Big Horn County Attorney’s Office, and the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department. The second edition of the Wyoming Coalition’s Wyoming Domestic Violence Benchbook, A practical and comprehensive source of information and law, was used as a resource for the training. Law enforcement personnel will receive POST credit for attending. Judge Harrington commented, “The time was well spent and all participants gained an understanding of the other agencies’ needs and perspectives.” A mock trial is being planned for February as training for law enforcement personnel and county attorneys.

  • New Judicial Learning Center to open on January 9, 2017
    Date Posted: 01/03/2017

    The grand opening of the new Judicial Learning Center, located at the Wyoming Supreme Court, will be held on January 9, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.   After the ribbon cutting, it will be free and open to the public during regular business hours.

    Access news article here.

  • Governor Appoints New Circuit Court Judge for Campbell County
    Date Posted: 10/20/2016

    Governor Matt Mead has selected Paul Phillips as Circuit Court Judge for the Sixth Judicial District in Campbell County. Phillips fills the vacancy created by Judge Terrill Tharp's retirement effective January 1, 2017. Access Press Release here.

  • Congratulations to Retiring Judges Donnell and Tharp
    Date Posted: 09/22/2016

    Judicial positions are a unique challenge—it takes a mix of special qualities to perform the job effectively. The Wyoming judiciary has been very fortunate to have benefitted from the integrity, temperament and knowledge of District Judge Jeffrey Donnell and Circuit Court Judge Terrill Tharp over the past 19 years and 22 years, respectively. In August, these two members of the judiciary announced their plans to retire as of January, 2017. Access full article here.

  • Judge Donnell Receives State Bar President's Award
    Date Posted: 09/21/2016

    The Wyoming State Bar recently announced that the Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, District Judge for the Second Judicial District, Laramie, is this year's recipient of the State Bar President's Award. Congratulations, Judge Donnell, for receiving this well-deserved award. Access the full article here.

  • Judge Roberts Receives Judicial Excellence Award
    Date Posted: 09/21/2016

    The Wyoming State Bar and the Wyoming Supreme Court are pleased to announce that the Honorable Wesley A. Roberts, Circuit Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial District - Riverton, is this year's recipient of the Larry L. Lehman Award for Judicial Excellence. Access the full article here.

  • 2016 CCJ/COSCA Conference Held in Jackson, WY
    Date Posted: 08/15/2016

    The 2016 Conference of Chief Justices and State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA) was held on July 23rd-July 27th in Jackson, Wyoming and was attended by 250 people: 46 Supreme Court Justices and 43 State Court Administrators, together with their families and guests. To view the complete article, click here.

  • Honorable Steven Cranfill, District Judge – Fifth Judicial District, Park County
    Date Posted: 07/14/2016

    On June 3rd, Judge Steven Cranfill, District Court Judge in the Fifth Judicial District, was the commencement speaker at the Wyoming Girls’ School’s graduation ceremony. Later in June, at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming, he addressed the 2016 Wyoming Girls State’s judiciary section. He also recently hosted a Law Day presentation that featured former California Deputy Attorney General John Gordnier. Mr. Gordnier spoke on intelligence laws, and in particular, the licensing of drones. Thank you, Judge Cranfill, for your outreach efforts on behalf of the Wyoming Judiciary.

  • Sweetwater County Justice Center Construction
    Date Posted: 07/06/2016

    Construction of the Sweetwater County Justice Center, located at the county’s current detention center site, is moving forward. The center will combine the county’s two circuit courts into one facility. There will also be offices for the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office, as well as additions for the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office. The center is projected to open in the summer of 2018.

  • Wyoming Supreme Court is awarded 2nd technical assistance grant for court security assessments
    Date Posted: 05/20/2016

    The State Justice Institute (SJI) recently notified the Wyoming Supreme Court that it has been awarded a second $50,000 technical assistance grant. The grant funds will be used to obtain the services of security consultants from the National Center for State Courts to conduct additional court security assessments. The funds the court received from the SJI in 2014 were used to conduct court security assessments in Albany, Big Horn, Crook, Goshen, Niobrara, Park, Platte, and Weston counties. The 2014 assessments provided critical information to the members of the Joint Appropriations Committee. Subsequently, the Legislature authorized $1,083.422.00 for matching grants to these eight counties—counties who could not otherwise afford to make court security improvements. Over half the courthouses in Wyoming remain vulnerable and lack the basic essential security elements. The assessments focus on the courtroom, judicial chambers, and other areas as they relate to the security and safety of judges, court staff, and court visitors. This recent grant will allow for assessments to be conducted in six to eight additional counties that were not included in the 2014 effort. With the help of these additional grant funds, the Supreme Court hopes to repeat the success it has had in leveraging state resources to strengthen security measures in Wyoming court facilities.

  • Sweetwater County Justice Center
    Date Posted: 05/01/2016

    The groundbreaking ceremony for the Sweetwater County Justice Center was held on May 4th. The project developed after former Chief Justice Marilyn Kite expressed her concern to the Sweetwater County Commissioners that the security at the courts needed to be upgraded.

  • State of the Judiciary 2016.
    Date Posted: 02/28/2016

    Delivered by Chief Justice Burke before a Joint Session of the Wyoming Legislature at the Jonah Business Center.

  • Wyoming Bar Foundation donates $173,360.00 to the Wyoming Judicial Learning Center
    Date Posted: 10/07/2015

    The Wyoming Supreme Court is pleased to announce that the Wyoming Bar Foundation has donated $173,360.00 to support the Wyoming Judicial Learning Center project. The announcement was made during the 2015 Wyoming State Bar Annual Meeting & Judicial Conference on September 9, 2015, in Jackson, Wyoming.

  • Governor Appoints New Eighth Judicial District Court Judge
    Date Posted: 09/04/2015

    Governor Matt Mead has selected Patrick Korell as the new District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District for Converse, Goshen, Niobrara and Platte Counties. Korell replaces Judge Keith Kautz who was recently appointed to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

  • Governor Appoints New Justice to the Wyoming Supreme Court
    Date Posted: 06/05/2015

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has appointed Judge Keith Kautz as the newest member of the Wyoming Supreme Court. Kautz replaces Justice Marilyn Kite, who has been on the Supreme Court since 2000 – serving as the first female justice and chief justice on the high court. She will retire on August 3, 2015.

  • Wyoming Judicial Learning Center Construction Set to Begin
    Date Posted: 04/09/2015

    The Wyoming Supreme Court is pleased to announce the initial fundraising goal for the new Wyoming Judicial Learning Center has been reached. The Wyoming State Bar Foundation and the Supreme Court have worked together to raise funds for a Judicial Learning Center to be built in the Supreme Court. The Center will offer visitors of all ages a stimulating and exciting way to learn about our state’s judicial system and the rule of law. Interactive and engaging exhibits will enhance understanding about rights, freedoms and the role of courts in Wyoming.

  • Wyoming Legislature Funds Court Security Improvements
    Date Posted: 03/18/2015

    Chief Justice E. James Burke, in collaboration with the Wyoming Court Security Commission and the Office of Homeland Security, announced today that the Sixty-Third Legislature of the State of Wyoming, through Enrolled Act 56, has appropriated one million eighty three thousand, four hundred and twenty two dollars ($1,083,422.00) “to provide funding for court security improvements including the purchase of security equipment within courthouses or construction or modification of facilities containing a state court.”

  • State of the Judiciary 2015
    Date Posted: 01/15/2015

    Delivered by Chief Justice Burke before a Joint Session of the Wyoming Legislature at the State Capitol Building.

  • Governor Appoints New Third Judicial District Court Judge
    Date Posted: 11/03/2014

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has selected Joseph B. Bluemel as the new District Court Judge for the Third Judicial District for Lincoln and Uinta Counties. Bluemel replaces Judge Dennis L. Sanderson who is retiring.

  • Wyoming Supreme Court and Wyoming State Bar Foundation Launch Project to
    Date Posted: 10/27/2014

    The Wyoming Supreme Court, in collaboration with the Wyoming State Bar Foundation, have initiated efforts to construct a Judicial Learning Center in the Supreme Court Building for use by students and adults who want to learn more about the rule of law and our state’s judicial system.

  • Wyoming Supreme Court Welcomes new State Court Administrator
    Date Posted: 10/24/2014

    Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice E. James Burke is pleased to announce that Lily Sharpe, J.D., has accepted the position of State Court Administrator. Ms. Sharpe’s first day at the Court will be November 17, 2014.

  • Judge Waldrip receives Judicial Excellence Award
    Date Posted: 09/16/2014

    The Wyoming State Bar and the Wyoming Supreme Court are pleased to announce that the Honorable Wade E. Waldrip, Second Judicial District Court Judge in Rawlins, is this year's recipient of the Larry L. Lehman Award for Judicial Excellence. The award was presented at this year's Annual Meeting & Judicial Conference, which took place last week at Little America in Cheyenne.

  • Supreme Court Receives Funding for Court Security Assessments and Training
    Date Posted: 07/07/2014

    Chief Justice E. James Burke, in collaboration with the Wyoming Court Security Commission and the Office of Homeland Security, announced today that the Wyoming Supreme Court has received two State Justice Institute technical assistance grants to assess security in several courts and improve court security in Wyoming.

  • State of the Judiciary 2014
    Date Posted: 02/10/2014

    Delivered by Chief Justice Kite before a Joint Session of the Wyoming Legislature at the State Capitol Building.

  • State of the Judiciary 2013
    Date Posted: 01/09/2013

    Delivered by Chief Justice Kite before a Joint Session of the Wyoming Legislature at the State Capitol Building.