from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable John
R. Perry, 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;
Matthew J. Fermelia, Senior Assistant Attorney General.
Argument by Mr. Fermelia.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
Brittany Brown was charged in the district court with
criminal contempt for violating a juvenile court order. She
entered a conditional plea agreement, reserving the right to
appeal several issues, and timely appealed. We find that the
district court had concurrent jurisdiction over this criminal
contempt action arising from an order issued by the juvenile
court, but we reverse and remand because Mrs. Brown was
denied due process. The order to show cause failed to
adequately notify her of the terms of the order she was
alleged to have violated or of her alleged conduct
constituting some of the violations, an error that was
compounded by the district court's denial of her
attorney's motion for access to the juvenile court file
which contained the order she was accused of violating.
Mrs. Brown raised five issues in her appeal. The State filed
a motion to reverse and remand, arguing that the issues she
raised were not proper for a conditional plea. We denied the
State's motion but determined that we would not consider
two of the issues because they were not properly raised. We
first address an issue raised by the State because it
determines whether we will consider any other issue, and we
rephrase the remaining issues:
1. Did Mrs. Brown enter a proper conditional plea?
2. Did the district court have jurisdiction over a criminal
contempt action arising from conduct in juvenile court?
3. Did Mrs. Brown have sufficient notice of the charges
against her to prepare an adequate defense when the order to
show cause did not contain all the elements of the charged
offense and when her attorney was denied access to the
underlying juvenile court file?
This case arises from a proceeding in juvenile court. The
juvenile court records are not part of the record on appeal,
but from what we can glean from the district court record,
there was a juvenile delinquency proceeding concerning Mrs.
Brown's minor child. The Campbell County Prosecuting
Attorney's office filed a motion in the District Court
for the Sixth Judicial District for an order to show cause
why Mrs. Brown should not be held in criminal contempt of
court. The motion alleges that Mrs. Brown failed to comply
with the Adjudication and Temporary Disposition Order issued
by the juvenile court by failing to check in weekly with the
juvenile's probation officer, cooperate with the juvenile
probation office "in all respects, " and maintain
telephone service. The affidavit attached to the motion
states that Mrs. Brown had only one communication with the
juvenile probation office; missed three interviews with the
juvenile probation office, which caused the office to file a
social summary without her participation; and did not have a
telephone, which meant that the juvenile probation office had
no means of contacting her other than by a personal visit to
her apartment. The motion requests that Mrs. Brown be
directed to appear in district court and show cause why she
should not be held in contempt, and it cites as authority the
provision of the Child Protection Act that authorizes
juvenile courts to find a party in contempt, Wyo. Stat. Ann.
The district court issued an order to show cause to Mrs.
Brown, alleging that she:
a. Failed to . . . know where the juvenile is and who the
juvenile's companions are at all times;
b. Failed to . . . check in weekly with the Campbell County
Juvenile Probation Office to monitor the juvenile's
c. Failed to cooperate with the Campbell County Juvenile
Probation Office in all respects and promptly report all
violations of the juvenile's probation to the Probation
d. Failed to maintain telephone service or equivalent (pager,
After her initial appearance, the district court appointed
the state public defender's office to represent Mrs.
Brown. Mrs. Brown filed a motion to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction, a motion to dismiss for lack of due process, a
motion for access to confidential file, a motion for relief
from appointment, and a motion for order for compensation.
The State responded to Mrs. Brown's motion to dismiss for
lack of jurisdiction and her motion to dismiss for lack of
due process, but did not respond to her other motions.
Mrs. Brown filed her notice of intent to enter a conditional
plea, indicating that she intended to enter a conditional
guilty plea to the allegations of failure to check in weekly
with the juvenile probation office and failure to cooperate
with the juvenile probation office, and to seek appellate
review of all five of her pending pretrial motions. At the
hearing on the change of plea, the court summarily denied
Mrs. Brown's five pending motions. Mrs. Brown entered a
conditional no contest plea to the criminal contempt charges.
The district court issued a Judgment and Sentence that
adjudicated Mrs. Brown in contempt of court for failing to:
• Check in weekly with the Campbell County Juvenile
Probation Office to monitor the juvenile's progress;
• Cooperate with the Campbell County Juvenile Probation
Office in all respects; and
• Maintain telephone service or equivalent (pager,
Judgment and Sentence imposed a sentence of incarceration for
ten days, which was suspended for a ninety-day probationary
period on the condition that Mrs. Brown "make her best
efforts" to comply with orders in the underlying
juvenile proceeding. Mrs. Brown filed a timely appeal.
All the issues in this case are subject to de novo review.
In re HLL, 2016 WY 43, ¶ 16, 372 P.3d 185, 189
(Wyo. 2016) (jurisdiction); In re CDR, 2015 WY 79,
¶ 19, 351 P.3d 264, 268-69 (Wyo. 2015) (statutory
interpretation); KC v. State, 2015 WY 73, ¶ 16,
351 P.3d 236, 241 (Wyo. 2015) (due process).
Did Mrs. Brown enter a proper conditional plea?
The Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure provide for the entry
of a conditional plea:
With the approval of the court and the consent of the
attorney for the state, a defendant may enter a conditional
plea of guilty or nolo contendere, reserving in writing the
right, on appeal from the judgment, to seek review of the
adverse determination of any specified pretrial motion. A