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Hulsy v. State

June 19, 2009

ROBERT JAMES HULSY, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Teton County The Honorable Nancy J. Guthrie, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Voigt, Chief Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] The appellant was convicted by a jury of felony interference with a peace officer. He contends on appeal that he was not adequately advised of the charge against him, and that the evidence was insufficient to prove both of the State's theories of guilt, the result being uncertainty as to whether a unanimous verdict was reached. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] The appellant states the issues substantially as follows:

1. Was the appellant denied a unanimous verdict by the State raising alternative theories of causation, when there is insufficient evidence to support both theories and it is impossible to determine which theory the jury selected?

2. Was the appellant denied his right to be properly advised of the specific nature and facts alleged against him, as provided under both the federal and the Wyoming constitutions, as well as Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure?

[¶3] The State re-phrases the issues as follows:

1. Was sufficient evidence presented to the jury to support the appellant's conviction?

2. Was there a fatal variance between the charge in the 1st Amended Information and the charge presented to the jury?

FACTS

[¶4] On March 14, 2007, the appellant was engaged in a violent verbal and physical confrontation with an employee at a bar in Jackson, Wyoming. He was eventually subdued and restrained by bar employees and the appellant's roommate, while the manager telephoned for law enforcement assistance. Teton County Sheriff's Deputies Sachse and Stanyon responded to the scene. Upon their arrival, they noted that the appellant was restrained, yet still combative, and that he was threatening to ―kill everyone.‖ The deputies picked the appellant up from where he was being held on the floor, but he began spitting and kicking at them, so they took him back down to the floor. The deputies admonished the appellant and then picked him up again and began escorting him toward the exit.

[¶5] As the deputies tried to walk the appellant toward a stairway leading to the exit, the appellant resisted by planting his feet firmly on the floor, stomping his feet, and kicking at the deputies. Deputy Sachse described the process as a ―labored forcing walk.‖ The three men started down the stairs, with one deputy on each side of the appellant. Just as they reached the second step, Deputy Sachse felt a sudden burst of energy and forward motion that carried him and the appellant down the stairs. He heard Deputy Stanyon scream out in pain at the same moment. Deputy Stanyon testified that the appellant, who was one step below him on the stairs, planted his right foot on the stair and kicked back directly at Deputy Stanyon with his left foot, striking Deputy Stanyon below the right knee. Though his knee was seriously injured, Deputy Stanyon assisted Deputy Sachse in forcing the appellant into the back seat of a patrol vehicle. Deputy Sachse then took Deputy Stanyon to the hospital emergency room before taking the appellant to jail. Deputy Stanyon's knee was surgically repaired the following day by an orthopedic surgeon.

[ΒΆ6] Deputy Sachse testified that, although he felt the sudden burst of energy that carried him and the appellant down the stairs, he did not see the appellant kick Deputy Stanyon because he was concentrating on watching the steps they were descending. The appellant's roommate, who had been assisting the deputies in trying to control the appellant, testified that he followed the trio toward the stairway, witnessed the appellant's struggling and resisting, and was directly behind them when the appellant's weight went ...


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