Anna Reeves Olson, Park Street Law Offices Casper, Wyoming
Jeanne Porter v. David Wayne Porter
2017 WY 77
June 27, 2017
Jeanne Porter (Wife) and David Porter (Husband) were married in 1997. Husband and Wife both worked for the majority of their marriage, but in 2013, Wife underwent numerous back surgeries and quit working.
After the bench trial, the district court divided the marital estate and denied Wife’s request for $2,000 per month alimony for ten years. The district court determined that Wife was able to work but had chosen not to, and she had not been reliant on her Husband’s income during the marriage because she had worked. Thus, it decided, there was no need to award alimony.
The Supreme Court affirmed and held that the “purpose of alimony is to provide a post-divorce substitute for the support provided to a spouse during the marriage.” “It is for the support and maintenance of a former spouse who is unable to adequately provide for him/herself.” In this case, the Wife’s income during the marriage supported her independent of Husband’s earnings and she had the continued ability to obtain gainful employment following the divorce. Accordingly, the Supreme Court held that the district court acted within its discretion in deciding that alimony was unwarranted.
Frank Villarreal v. State of Wyoming
2017 WY 81
July 6, 2017
Robert Flores and Frank Villarreal were involved in an altercation that ended with Villarreal punching Flores in the face and driving over and breaking his leg. At the hospital, Flores was seen by Wheat, an EMT, and later by Dr. Cesko. Flores did not appear at trial to testify, but Dr. Cesko testified that when he saw Flores, he was in “substantial pain” from his broken leg. However, both Wheat and Dr. Cesko also testified that they were unaware of any other injuries to Flores and no additional injuries were noted in his medical record. A jury convicted Villarreal of battery for punching Flores in the face and aggravated assault and battery for breaking his leg.
On appeal, Villarreal argued that the district court denied his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses when it allowed Wheat and Dr. Cesko to testify about several statements that Flores had made to them. However, the Supreme Court held that because there was no objection at trial regarding either the Confrontation Clause or the availability of Flores, the district court did not violate the law and Villarreal did not establish plain error. The Court also found that Villarreal’s Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses was not violated because Flores’ statements to his medical providers were not “testimonial” in nature.
With regard to the battery conviction, the Court noted that “a person is guilty of battery if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person by use of physical force.” Accordingly, because both Wheat and Dr. Cesko testified that they were unaware of any injuries other than the broken leg, there was insufficient evidence to allow a jury to conclude that Flores had suffered bodily injury when Mr. Villarreal punched him. The Court remanded the case so that the battery conviction could be vacated.
Tamra Acorn, Rebecca Shwen as manager of Federer Holding Company v. Lori & Dino Moncecchi
2017 WY 83
July 7, 2017
During the course of their marriage, M. W. “Bud” Federer (Bud) and Margie Federer (Margie) amassed a sizeable estate for themselves and for the benefit of their three daughters. However, when the daughters were older they disagreed about money, and those disagreements resulted...