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Julie Ann Jacobsen v. the State of Wyoming

August 1, 2012


Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable Michael N. Deegan, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kite, Chief 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 typographical or other formal errors so correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] A jury found Julie Ann Jacobsen guilty of ten felony counts involving forgery and larceny. She appeals the convictions, claiming her trial counsel was ineffective. She also asks this Court to allow her to supplement the trial record in order to prove her ineffective assistance claim. We decline Ms. Jacobsen's request to supplement the record and affirm her convictions.


[¶2] Ms. Jacobsen presents two issues for this Court's consideration:

Issue One: Did defense counsel fail to investigate this case, obtain documents and witnesses, including an expert, and therefore deny Ms. Jacobsen effective assistance of counsel?

Issue Two: Will this court effectively deny Ms. Jacobsen the right to due process and a meaningful appeal by denying her the opportunity to supplement the trial record in her attempt to prove her appellate claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel?

Addressing Ms. Jacobsen's first issue, the State asserts Ms. Jacobsen received effective assistance of counsel and, in any event, the evidence against her was so overwhelming that she was not prejudiced by any ineffectiveness. Addressing her second issue, the State contends this Court properly denied Ms. Jacobsen's previous motion requesting a partial remand to supplement the record and should not reconsider that ruling.


[¶3] The Fox Park Homeowner's Association and Fox Park Improvement District (Fox Park) were created by residents of a mobile home park in Gillette, Wyoming, to oversee and maintain common areas and provide for utilities and other services within the park, ensure compliance with the covenants and collect member dues. In 1989, Fox Park contracted with Better Bookkeeping and Accounting, a business Ms. Jacobsen operated, to perform bookkeeping and manage its day-to-day business operations. Under the terms of the contract, Ms. Jacobsen was to be paid $1,500 a month for her services, plus expenses.

[¶4] In 2003, Fox Park began receiving telephone calls from vendors indicating they had not been paid for services they had provided. Fox Park checked its bank accounts (an operating account and a money market account) and discovered that money had been transferred to a third account about which it knew nothing. Further investigation revealed the account had been opened in 1996 and Ms. Jacobsen was a signatory on the account. Review of the account statements showed that checks to Fox Park from homeowners had been deposited into that account rather than into the Fox Park operating account; money had been transferred into the account from Fox Park's money market account; checks from the county treasurer and the State that should have been deposited into the money market account had been deposited into the third account; and Ms. Jacobsen had written and signed checks totaling over $69,000 on the account to various people and entities, including herself, Better Bookkeeping, her husband, her daughter and a jeweler.

[¶5] Fox Park contacted the Campbell County Sheriff's Department which began an investigation. The investigation revealed that, in addition to the creation of a third account in its name, loans for thousands of dollars had been obtained under Fox Park's name with forged signatures and without its knowledge or authorization. Also, charge accounts had been opened in Fox Park's name at an auto supply store, office supply store and pro shop. Invoices for charges on the accounts had been signed by Ms. Jacobsen's daughter and her boyfriend and by Ms. Jacobsen's husband.

[¶6] The State charged Ms. Jacobsen with eleven felonies: five counts of forgery in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-602(a)(ii) and (b) (LexisNexis 2011), four counts of uttering forgery in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-602(a)(iii) and (b), one count of larceny by bailee in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-402(b) and (c)(i) (LexisNexis 2011) and one count of conspiracy to commit larceny by bailee in violation of §§ 6-1-303(a) (LexisNexis 2011), 6-1-304 (LexisNexis 2011) and 6-3-402(b) and (c)(i). The State later amended the information to charge four rather than ...

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