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10/10/2012

Wyoming State Bar Encourages Support of Constitutional Amendment C

CHEYENNE - The Wyoming State Bar would like to encourage Wyoming citizens to vote in favor of Constitutional Amendment C.

The purpose of Constitutional Amendment C is to enhance the efficiency of the district court by removing two obstacles to the court’s use of court commissioners. The state constitution currently allows court commissioners appointed by the district judge to conduct “chambers business”, and it grants the court commissioner authority to act in the absence of the district judge from the county.

However, much has changed in the operation of district courts since the 1890 when our constitution was adopted. The statutes impose more duties and deadlines that can be difficult to fulfill promptly when the district court is conducting trials or other business. The amendment would give the court commissioner authority to act in matters beyond “chambers business,” such as emergency hearings in mental health and juvenile cases, where the district judge is within the county, but is otherwise occupied, such as in a jury trial. This would allow the district court to more promptly act on matters of great importance to members of the public.

“This is a simple, necessary and practical change that will increase public access to the court system,” said John Cotton, President of the Wyoming State Bar. “It will improve the legal system and enhance the administration of justice. I strongly encourage support of the amendment.”

Following is the ballot language of Constitutional Amendment C as it will appear on the 2012 General Election ballot:

The adoption of this amendment would expand the authority of district court commissioners. If the amendment is adopted, a district court commissioner could perform additional duties assigned by a district court judge, subject to any restrictions the legislature may impose by law.

     

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