By Sarah Pridgeon
The Supreme Court of Wyoming has denied Mayor Steve Sproul’s petition for a review of his sentence in a case dating back to 2016, when an altercation occurred at Moorcroft Town Hall during which he was accused of pushing Councilman Dick Claar out of the way with his shoulder.
“After a careful review of the petition, the materials attached thereto and the file, this Court finds the petition should be denied,” said the order signed by Chief Justice Michael K. Davis.
Both men were charged with misdemeanors after the argument, Claar pleading guilty to breach of the peace and Sproul pleading not guilty to one count of unlawful bodily contact. Sproul was found guilty by a jury of six, but soon appealed the decision on the basis that two jurors were “sleeping intermittently” throughout the day-long trial.
Judge Matthew Castano denied the motion and ruled that Sproul had failed to establish he suffered prejudice as a consequence of the “brief periods of inattention.” The appeal was then elevated to District Court, now including several additional arguments, such that the statute for unlawful bodily contact is “unconstitutionally void for vagueness” as it does not include a bodily injury element.
Judge Thomas Rumpke, however, upheld the original verdict and affirmed the decision of Circuit Court.
Sproul filed a petition for writ of review in the Wyoming Supreme Court on August 30, asking that Rumpke’s order be reviewed, the conviction reversed or the issue remanded to Circuit Court for a new trial. The Attorney General’s Office confirmed that it chose not to respond to the petition on September 4 and the case was closed with an order denying the petition on September 25.
By Sarah Pridgeon