Unlike most states, Wyoming has only one court of appeals, and that is the Supreme Court. It is located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and the court of last resort. It handles all appeals coming from lower courts and administrative agencies. Most appeals come directly from District Courts. The Supreme Court’s decisions are final except in regard to federal law; then the case may be turned over to the United States Supreme Court.
When a litigant from a lower court is dissatisfied, they can appeal the case. In this situation, a panel of judges from the Supreme Court review the original case transcripts, read written briefs (prepared by each side) and hear oral arguments to determine if any errors were made in applying the law to the original case. The judges make a decision called an “opinion,” and these opinions are published for public review. Some set precedent for future cases and others overturn the original verdict of the first case.
The Wyoming Supreme Court has five justices. One of them is Chief Justice and performs additional supervisory and administrative tasks in conjunction with his or her judiciary responsibilities. They serve in this role for a four-year term. To qualify to be a justice, someone must first be a licensed attorney with nine years of experience. They must be at least 30 years old and a U.S. and Wyoming resident for at least three years. All justices must retire at age 70. In the event of a vacancy, the Judicial Nominating Commission selects three nominees and the Governor chooses and appoints someone to fill the seat until the next general election.
The State Court Administrator and Clerk of the Supreme Court work closely with the judicial team to support and provide resources, technology, administration, manage budgets, and handle the caseload.