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State Briefs

 

June 20, 2019



Juror faces jail over refusal to serve

LARAMIE (WNE) — Albany County District Court Judge Tori Kricken ruled this week that a juror in a Laramie civil case will be jailed indefinitely starting June 28 unless she completes 20 hours of community service and writes an essay about the “importance of the American judicial system.”

Lindsey Salisbury, a mental health counselor at Pathfinder Mental Health Professionals, was held in contempt of court after refusing to serve on a jury she was selected for last week.

After a contempt hearing Tuesday, Kricken ruled that if Salisbury is to avoid jail time, she will need to perform 20 hours of community service for a “community service organization of her choosing” and complete a “10-page single-spaced typed paper regarding the importance of the American judicial system, the jury’s role in the same, and the importance of an individual’s civic responsibly of service.”

On June 3, Salisbury was selected as a juror for a two-week trial regarding a major business dispute between Laramie energy company WellDog and former business partners in Australia.

After voir dire, Salisbury “expressed some concern with the length of trial vis-a-vis her employment as a private mental health counselor,” Kricken wrote in her contempt order.

“However, when questioned, Ms. Salisbury expressed that there were other counselors available in her practice to assist with clients if necessary and, further, that there were alternatives available to any of her clients should a mental health emergency arise,” Kricken wrote.

According to Kricken’s order, both the judge and the case’s lawyers “agreed that Ms. Salisbury did not qualify to be excused for cause.”

Salisbury, however, refused to take the juror’s oath anyway.

Drug-involved car crashes on rise in Wyoming

SHERIDAN (WNE) — There were 20 drug-involved crashes in Wyoming in May, six more than in the previous month and one less than in March, which had the most so far this year.

According to statistics provided by the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving, there have been 77 drug-involved traffic crashes through May 2019, 36 of those have been drug-involved crashes with injuries. There have been four deaths this year due to drug-involved crashes; the same a year ago. At this time last year, there were 78 drug-related crashes.

Across the state, drug-involved crashes were going down each year from 2015 through 2017 but saw a slight increase in 2018. Fatalities due to drug involved crashes have gone down since 2015 and continue to stay down. There were 12 fatalities in 2018, nine less than a year before.

Drug-involved refers to the presence of any substance other than alcohol. Driving under the influence of drugs fall under the same state statute as alcohol and will be prosecuted the same under Wyoming Statute 32-5-133, said Sheridan County Sheriff Allen Thompson.

“Not only are we seeing a high number of people driving under the influence of alcohol, but now we are seeing an increase in numbers of driving under the influence of other substances,” said Byron Oedekoven, executive director of Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. 

Right now, marijuana is the drug most commonly used when driving under the influence of a substance other than alcohol Oedekoven said. WASCOP has been collecting data from all 23 counties across Wyoming and puts the data into yearly reports for each county.

Man receives suspended sentence for assault of daughter’s boyfriend

GILLETTE (WNE) — A father who broke a 16-year-old boy’s nose after learning he was in a bedroom with his 14-year-old daughter told a judge Wednesday that he instantly regretted his actions and that he wishes he could take them back.

Adam Keuck, 39, apologized to his family and the victims and their families at his sentencing hearing for felony aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment.

But District Judge John R. Perry wasn’t sympathetic to Keuck’s statement, calling his behavior “absolutely reprehensible” and referred to “the absolutely idiocy of your conduct.”

Perry gave him a suspended 6- to 10-year sentence for aggravated assault and one year in jail for reckless endangerment. 

Four teenagers had gathered at a house April 14, including the daughter, who had been picked up by a friend. The friend told police that when he picked her up, Keuck came to the car and spoke threateningly, pointing out the young age of his daughter. He reportedly pointed a handgun at the 17-year-old, saying, “They’ll never find your body.”

That incident led to the reckless endangering charge.

Keuck and the girl’s mother Sara Cage decided to follow the two. When they arrived at the house, they went inside and learned that the girl and another boy were in a bedroom. 

They went to the bedroom and pulled the 16-year-old boy by his hair out of a closet where he had hidden, according to the affidavit.

The boy was thrown on the bed and Keuck began punching him, eventually drawing a firearm from a holster and pointing it at the boy’s face. 

Perry told Keuck that he erred going into the house rather than calling police and letting them deal with it.

 
 

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