CASEY J. CARTER, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff)
from the District Court of Campbell County. The Honorable
Thomas W. Rumpke, Judge.
Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M.
Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate
Counsel; Diane E. Courselle, Director, and Samuel Forshner,
Student Intern, Defender Aid Program, College of Law,
University of Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Forshner.
Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; David L.
Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens,
Senior Assistant Attorney General; Caitlin F. Young,
Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Young.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ. BURKE,
C.J., delivers the opinion of the Court; DAVIS, J., files a
specially concurring opinion.
[¶1] The jury in Casey J. Carter's trial
for felony interference with a peace officer deliberated
approximately four hours before it informed the district
court it was deadlocked. The district court provided the
jurors with a supplemental instruction urging them to
continue deliberating. A short time later, the jury returned
a guilty verdict. On appeal, Mr. Carter claims that the
district court's supplemental instruction improperly
coerced the jury, and that he was denied effective assistance
of counsel because his attorney did not object to the
instruction. We affirm.
[¶2] Mr. Carter presents two issues:
1. Was the supplemental jury instruction coercive?
2. Was Mr. Carter denied his right to effective assistance
of counsel because his attorney failed to object to the
[¶3] Mr. Carter's trial began at 8:30
a.m. After the jury was selected and opening statements were
given, the court recessed for lunch. At 1:00 p.m., the
prosecution began presenting its case. It called two
witnesses, police officers Ryan Mahylis and Eric Small, who
had arrested Mr. Carter in his home. Both testified that when
Mr. Carter was informed he was being arrested, he swung a
fist at Officer Mahylis. Officer Mahylis ducked the punch,
but was taken into a headlock by Mr. Carter. The officer
broke away, and the two officers " took [Mr. Carter] to
[¶4] Defense witnesses provided a different
version of the incident. Enrique Ibarra, Mr. Carter's
friend and roommate, observed the arrest. He testified that
when Mr. Carter was told he was being arrested, he started to
leave to get his medication. One of the officers grabbed his
arm, and Mr. Carter " reacted" by jerking it away.
The officers then took him " down to the floor."
Mr. Carter testified as follows in his defense:
As I stepped forward one officer startled me because he
grabbed my left hand from behind and I pulled back because it
shocked me a little bit, and as soon as I pulled, the other
officer grabbed my right arm and the next thing I know I was
on the ground.
[¶5] Ultimately, the case was submitted to
the jury. The jury was instructed that it must determine
whether Mr. Carter was guilty or not guilty of felony
interference with a peace officer in violation of Wyo. Stat.
Ann. § 6-5-204(b) (LexisNexis 2013). The jury was also
instructed that, if it did not find Mr. Carter guilty of
interference with a peace officer, it could consider the
lesser included misdemeanor offense of resisting arrest in
violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-5-204(a). The jury
began its deliberations at about 4:00 p.m.
[¶6] Shortly after 7:30 p.m., the district
court learned that the jury had indicated to the bailiffs
that it was deadlocked. The district court informed the
prosecutor, the defense attorney, and Mr. Carter that the
jury had told the bailiffs they were " 11 to 1 on the
top verdict, 12, 0 on the bottom verdict." When the
bailiffs asked if the jury wanted to go home or continue
deliberating, the jurors said " it wouldn't make any
difference, it would still be the same." After
discussion with counsel, at around 8:30 p.m., the district
court instructed the jury as follows:
Ladies and gentlemen, . . . about 7:35 I received a phone
call indicating that you all were at an impasse and you were
having difficulty reaching an agreement and so I'm going
to give you one supplemental instruction and ask you to
return to continue your deliberations.
If you find that, if you reach agreement obviously let the
bailiffs know but if you don't and believe it would be
beneficial to break for the evening, again please let the
bailiffs know and they can get that message to us, and
I'll give you this following instruction and then ask you
to retire to the jury room and continue your deliberations.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have already been instructed that
in order to return a verdict each juror must agree thereto.
The jurors have a duty to consult with one another and to
deliberate with a view to reaching an agreement if it can be
done without violence to your individual judgments.
Each juror must decide the case for himself but only after --
or herself, I'm sorry, but only after an impartial
consideration of the evidence with his or her fellow jurors.
In the course of your deliberations, a juror should not
hesitate to reexamine his or her own views and change his or
her own opinion if convinced that it is erroneous.
However, no juror should surrender his or her honest
conviction as to the weight or effect of the evidence solely
because of the opinion of his or her fellow jurors or for the
mere purpose of returning a verdict. The court requests that
you deliberate further in an atmosphere of mutual deference
and respect giving due consideration to the views of your
fellow jurors in the knowledge that your verdict must reflect
the views of all.
Your attention is specifically called to all of the other
instructions given to you in this case including but not
limited to those relating to the presumption of innocence,
the burden of proof, and the requirement that guilt must be
established beyond a reasonable doubt. And the instruction
that I have just given you is to be considered with all other
instructions that I've previously given you in this case.
With that additional instruction, I'll ask you to
continue your deliberations, and if you have questions or
need to communicate, that you need to agree to leave for the
evening or you've reached a decision please contact the
bailiffs, and with that, I'll excuse the jury to the
counsel did not object to the instruction. At approximately
9:15 p.m., the jury returned a guilty verdict on the charge
of felony interference ...