Three Level Court

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Three Levels of Courts

The Wyoming Constitution and state statutes establish our state courts and the types of cases which can be heard and considered in each court.

Under our Constitution the District Court is the court of general jurisdiction.  The District Court is given original jurisdiction to consider and decide all causes and actions.

The District Court has the right to determine serious criminal offenses, workers’ compensation cases, probate matters, and juvenile issues.  In addition, the District Court is the appropriate court to hear appeals from certain governmental administrative hearings and from courts with limited jurisdiction such as Circuit Court and Municipal Court.

There are nine judicial districts in Wyoming and 17 District Court Judges.  Park County is in the Fifth Judicial District which encompasses the four counties in the Big Horn Basin.

The Fifth Judicial District has two District Court Judges.  Judge Steven Cranfill is the District Judge in Park County and also sits in Big Horn County for civil cases, probates and appeals.  Judge Robert Skar is the District Judge in Washakie and Hot Springs counties and also sits in Big Horn County for juvenile and criminal cases.

Courts of limited jurisdiction are courts which are authorized by law to deal with specific kinds of cases.  The courts are limited to specific geographic boundaries.  Circuit Courts, Justice of the Peace Courts, and Municipal Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.

Effective July 1, 2000, all County Courts were replaced with Circuit Courts.

The Circuit Court has limited jurisdiction to determine misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases when the amount in controversy is a maximum of $50,000.  In addition, the Circuit Court is the appropriate court to hear small claims cases.  The Circuit Court also hears domestic violence cases and stalking cases.

While the Circuit Court is not empowered to hear cases involving felony crimes, it’s directed to hold preliminary hearings in felony cases.

Judge Bruce Waters is the Circuit Court Judge in Park County.

As limited by Wyoming statutes, Municipal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine violations of municipal ordinances within municipalities.  A municipal Court Judge may impose fines not exceeding $750 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

Ed Webster is the Municipal Court Judge in Cody, Jim Allison is Municipal Judge in Powell and J.W. Yetter is the Municipal Judge in Meeteetse.