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Webster v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

August 2, 2016

RYAN RUSSELL WEBSTER, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

         Appeal from the District Court of Hot Springs County The Honorable Robert E. Skar, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; Eric M. Alden, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Alden.

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Philip M. Donoho, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Mr. Donoho.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          FOX, Justice.

         [¶1] Ryan Webster stole a car in Thermopolis and drove it through Wyoming toward Colorado. Authorities in Cheyenne were alerted, and a vehicular chase eventually ended across the Wyoming border in Colorado, where Mr. Webster was arrested and jailed. The State of Wyoming filed separate charges arising from the incident in Hot Springs County and Laramie County. The charges resulted in detainers being filed in Colorado against Mr. Webster. In accordance with the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, Mr. Webster requested disposition of the charges against him in both counties. Mr. Webster was transported to Cheyenne to stand trial; however, the State failed to bring Mr. Webster to trial within the 180-day period required by the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, and the Laramie County charge was dismissed with prejudice. Upon dismissal of the Laramie County charge, Mr. Webster was transported to Hot Springs County to face charges there. Again, however, the State failed to try Mr. Webster within the 180-day window, and the Hot Springs County charge was likewise dismissed with prejudice.

         [¶2] After returning Mr. Webster to Colorado, the State filed another charge against Mr. Webster in Hot Springs County arising from the car theft. The charge cited the identical statutory provision as the charge against Mr. Webster which had previously been dismissed with prejudice in Laramie County. Mr. Webster was extradited and stood trial on the second Hot Springs County charge, which resulted in a conviction. Mr. Webster now appeals his conviction, arguing that he could not be prosecuted in Hot Springs County on a charge that had been dismissed with prejudice. We reverse and find that the dismissal of the Laramie County charge with prejudice barred the State from charging Mr. Webster with the same crime in Hot Springs County.

         ISSUE

         [¶3] Mr. Webster raises two issues in his appeal. However, because his second issue is dispositive of the case, we will address only whether the State was precluded from prosecuting Mr. Webster by the previous dismissal with prejudice of the same charge.

         FACTS

         [¶4] In the early morning hours of January 25, 2012, Kevin Smith realized that his 2006 Cadillac Escalade had been stolen from in front of his Thermopolis home. He informed local authorities who advised him to contact On-Star to pinpoint the vehicle's location. On-Star located the vehicle traveling south on Interstate 25 in Platte County, Wyoming. The Wyoming Highway Patrol was notified, and officers began their pursuit of the vehicle near Cheyenne, Wyoming. The pursuit continued into Colorado where the vehicle eventually stopped, and officers apprehended the suspect, who was later identified as Ryan Webster.

         [¶5] Mr. Webster was arrested by a Colorado State Patrol officer and taken to Fort Collins for booking. The State of Wyoming charged Mr. Webster in Laramie County with receiving stolen property in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-403(a)(i) (LexisNexis 2015), [1] and in Hot Springs County with larceny in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-402(a)(c)(i) (LexisNexis 2015). At the time of the Wyoming charges, Mr. Webster was being held in a Colorado prison for an unrelated crime. The State filed detainers with the Colorado Department of Corrections, pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD), Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 7-15-101 through 7-15-105 (LexisNexis 2015), informing the Department that Mr. Webster was wanted on charges in Wyoming, and requesting that the Department "place a hold on [their] inmate[, Ryan Webster]." Upon learning of the detainer, Mr. Webster requested that the Wyoming charges against him come to a final disposition in accordance with the IAD.

         [¶6] Mr. Webster was first transported to Cheyenne to face the charges brought by the State in Laramie County. The State failed to bring Mr. Webster to trial within 180 days as required by the IAD, [2] and as a result, the Laramie County charges were dismissed.[3]Mr. Webster was then taken to Hot Springs County to face the charges brought by the State in that venue. Again, the State failed to bring Mr. Webster to trial within the 180-day window and the charge was dismissed with prejudice. Mr. Webster was then transported back to Colorado.

         [¶7] The State then filed a separate charge against Mr. Webster in Hot Springs County, alleging that he bought or received stolen property in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-403(a)(i). Mr. Webster was arrested in Colorado on December 23, 2014, in connection with that charge, and was extradited to Wyoming. Mr. Webster moved to dismiss, arguing that the initial dismissal with prejudice in Hot Springs County applied to "all untried indictments, informations or complaints, " that his right to a speedy trial was violated, and that the initial dismissals with prejudice of the Laramie County and Hot Springs County charges precluded the State from bringing the same charges again. The district court denied Mr. Webster's motion and a trial was ...


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