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Bird v. Wyoming Board of Parole

Supreme Court of Wyoming

October 18, 2016

CHESTER LOYDE BIRD, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
WYOMING BOARD OF PAROLE, Daniel M. Fetsco, Executive Director, and WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Robert O. Lampert, Director, Appellees (Defendants).

         Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable Steven K. Sharpe, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Chester L. Bird, pro se.

          Representing Appellees: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; James M. Causey, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Joshua C. Eames, Assistant Attorney General.

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

          FOX, Justice.

         [¶1] Chester L. Bird is serving a sentence of life according to law for crimes he committed in the 1990s. Mr. Bird filed a pro se complaint pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, alleging various constitutional violations. The district court dismissed Mr. Bird's claims, and he appealed. We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Mr. Bird presents a number of issues for our review. Although the issues presented are not discretely listed, Mr. Bird discusses and presents argument on each issue listed below. While we will not frame the issues for the parties, we do make some allowances for pro se litigants. Kelley v. Watson, 2003 WY 127, ¶ 4, 77 P.3d 691, 692 (Wyo. 2003).

         1. Does Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-16-205(a)(i) violate Mr. Bird's equal protection rights by treating similarly situated prisoners differently without a rational relationship to a legitimate state interest?

         2. Does the Wyoming Department of Corrections' good time policy violate Mr. Bird's equal protection rights by treating similarly situated prisoners differently?

         3. Did the enactment of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-16-205(a)(i) impliedly repeal Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-13-402(a)?

         4. Did the Wyoming Board of Parole violate the doctrine of separation of powers by enacting policies governing the commutation application procedure?

         5. Did the Wyoming Board of Parole violate Mr. Bird's due process rights by amending the commutation application procedure?

         6. Did the Wyoming Board of Parole's amendment to the commutation application procedure violate Mr. Bird's constitutional protection against ex post facto laws?

         FACTS

         [¶3] In the mid-90s, Mr. Bird was sentenced to two life sentences according to law, to run concurrently. Bird v. State, 901 P.2d 1123, 1128 (Wyo. 1995). On September 1, 2015, Mr. Bird filed a complaint against the Wyoming Board of Parole (WBOP) and the Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC) pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act. Mr. Bird made a number of allegations, as set forth in the Issues section above. In response to Mr. Bird's complaint, the defendants filed a combined motion to dismiss, arguing that Mr. Bird failed to state a claim for relief. The district court granted the motion, and Mr. Bird timely filed his notice of appeal.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         [¶4] We sustain the dismissal of a complaint pursuant to W.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) "only if it shows on its face that the plaintiff [is] not entitled to relief under any set of facts." Hochalter v. City of Gillette, 2005 WY 125, ¶ 9, 120 P.3d 674, 677 (Wyo. 2005) (quoting Darrar v. Bourke, 910 P.2d 572, 575 (Wyo. 1996)). The facts alleged in the complaint are deemed admitted and the allegations are viewed in the light most ...


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