from the District Court of Sheridan County The Honorable John
G. Fenn, Judge
Kenneth B. DeCock, Plains Law Offices, LLP, Sheridan,
K. Michael, Attorney General; Misha Westby, Deputy Attorney
General; Shawnna M. Herron, Senior Assistant Attorney
General; Jill E. Kucera, Senior Assistant Attorney General.
Argument by Ms. Herron.
Wilde, Deputy State Public Defender and Aaron S. Hockman,
Chief Trial and Appellate Counsel, Wyoming Guardian Ad Litem
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
In this case of alleged child neglect, Mother, CY, and the
State of Wyoming stipulated to the entry of a Consent Decree.
The decree provided that it would be in effect for six months
and that it "shall expire" and that the action
would be deemed dismissed "if no further action is taken
in this matter." After the decree had been in effect for
six months and the State had not taken any additional action,
Mother filed a motion to dismiss. The juvenile court denied
the motion and extended the decree for an additional six
months. Mother challenges that decision in this appeal. The
State contends that this matter is moot because Mother's
children were returned to her after this appeal was filed and
the underlying juvenile case has been closed. We conclude
that an exception to the mootness doctrine applies, and that
the terms of the Consent Decree required dismissal of the
neglect action because the State failed to assert
non-compliance with the decree within the time period
provided in the decree. Accordingly, we reverse the decision
of the juvenile court denying Mother's motion to dismiss.
The issues for our consideration are:
1. Should this appeal be dismissed because it is moot?
2. Did the juvenile court have authority to extend the
Consent Decree after six months had elapsed and the State had
taken no action alleging that Mother had failed to ...