Wyoming Supreme Court Hears Public Defender Case Arguments
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has heard opposing arguments in a case involving public defender representation in state courts.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports the court case between State Public Defender Diane Lozano and Campbell County Circuit Judge Paul Phillips began in May, when Lozano declared the public defender’s office unavailable for misdemeanor cases due to heavy caseloads and an understaffing crisis.
Phillips found Lozano in contempt of court for refusing to take misdemeanor cases and is fining her a total of $1,500 each day public defenders aren’t available.
Attorneys for both sides gave opposing views during oral arguments Wednesday before the Supreme Court over the meaning of the term “unavailable” and who should decide public defender availability.
The state Supreme Court will issue a ruling at a later date.