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Cooper v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

December 12, 2018

TIMOTHY OWEN COOPER, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable Michael N. Deegan, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Timothy Owen Cooper, pro se.

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens, Deputy Attorney General; Caitlin F. Harper, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Samuel L. Williams, Assistant Attorney General.

          Before DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.

          GRAY, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Appellant Timothy Cooper appeals a district court order denying his motion for sentence reduction. We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Mr. Cooper raises two issues which we restate as:

I. Does the Addicted Offender Accountability Act require the release of a qualified offender after he completes treatment while serving a prison sentence?
II. Did the district court abuse its discretion when it denied Mr. Cooper's motion for sentence reduction?

         FACTS

         [¶3] In 2014, Mr. Cooper was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031(c)(ii) (LexisNexis 2013). The district court released him on bond after his initial appearance. On two separate occasions between the initial appearance and sentencing, the State sought to revoke Mr. Cooper's bond. The first petition to revoke bond, based on failure to check in and provide a urine analysis, was pending at the time of the change of plea hearing. At that hearing, Mr. Cooper pled "no contest" to one count of felony possession of methamphetamine. The district court accepted Mr. Cooper's plea and continued his bond. The second petition to revoke Mr. Cooper's bond was based on Mr. Cooper's alleged use of methamphetamine and marijuana in violation of the terms of his bond. The district court revoked the bond. On February 20, 2015, the district court sentenced Mr. Cooper to five to seven years' incarceration. Finding Mr. Cooper a qualified offender under Wyoming's Addicted Offender Accountability Act (AOAA or "the Act"), Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 7-13-1301 et seq. (LexisNexis 2013), the court suspended his sentence in favor of a split sentence of 180 days in jail, subject to early release upon acceptance into an inpatient treatment facility, followed by a period of five years of probation. It appears that Mr. Cooper was released from jail early and successfully completed inpatient treatment.

         [¶4] In October of 2016, the State sought to revoke Mr. Cooper's probation alleging failure to complete aftercare treatment, failure to keep two office visits with his probation officer, and failure to comply with monetary obligations in the sentence and probation order. Mr. Cooper admitted that he failed to complete aftercare treatment and to missing the office visits. The State withdrew the remaining allegation. The district court revoked Mr. Cooper's probation and reinstated his original sentence. The court again suspended the sentence in favor of another five-year term of probation. The court again found Mr. Cooper was a qualified offender under the AOAA and again required him to complete inpatient treatment as a condition of probation.

         [¶5] In February of 2017, the State filed a second petition to revoke Mr. Cooper's probation. The petition alleged that Mr. Cooper had violated the terms of probation by failing to provide proof that he applied for inpatient treatment, testing positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, failing to check in with his probation officer, and failing to provide a valid phone number to his probation officer. After a hearing, the district court found that Mr. Cooper had willfully violated his probation and it revoked Mr. Cooper's probation. The court imposed the underlying sentence of five to seven years' incarceration, explaining "[n]otwithstanding [its earlier] finding that [Mr. Cooper] is a Qualified Offender, the interests of justice require a period of incarceration based upon ...


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