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Roger Lee Snow v. the State of Wyoming

February 9, 2012

ROGER LEE SNOW, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Sheridan County The Honorable John G. Fenn, Judge

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

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

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] After being convicted of felony burglary and a related misdemeanor, appellant Roger Lee Snow (Snow) appeals his conviction, contending that the district court erred when it denied his request for a new attorney and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Snow presents the following two issues:

1. Whether the district court failed to properly inquire as to whether [Snow] wanted and had grounds to terminate appointed counsel, and whether [Snow] was given an improper choice between having appointed or retained counsel.

2. Whether [Snow's] trial counsel was ineffective, when he failed to present a lesser-included offense instruction to the jury, and when that lesser-included offense was supported by evidence and would have been accepted by the district court.

FACTS

[¶3] In 2009, Snow and George Urbanek moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in search of employment. Carl and Linda Lee permitted them to stay at their home, and in late October of 2009, Linda offered the men yard work at the metal shop where she was employed, as well as access to her car for personal use.

[¶4] Near the end of December of 2009, Linda received a phone call from her bank about suspicious activity on her account. After looking at a bank-provided surveillance photo from an ATM, Linda identified the individual in the photo as Snow. A total of $780.00 had been withdrawn from her account.

[¶5] The State arrested and formally charged Snow with burglary in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-301(a) (LexisNexis 2011) and unlawful use of a credit card, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-802(a)(i)(b)(i) (LexisNexis 2011). As his court-appointed attorney prepared for trial, Snow sent a letter to the district court requesting substitute counsel. He indicated dissatisfaction with his attorney, stating that he felt the attorney was not representing him to the best of his abilities, always had a "pessimistic attitude," and encouraged Snow to "take a deal." Snow also believed his attorney-client privilege had been violated.

[¶6] Eventually, a hearing occurred to address Snow's allegations against his attorney. At the end of the hearing, Snow said that he wished to proceed with counsel and did not need an opportunity to retain a different lawyer. He also indicated that he had no further issues to address.

[ΒΆ7] A jury convicted Snow on both counts. The court sentenced Snow to four to seven years on the burglary charge, and six months on the misdemeanor, to be ...


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