NACDL - Wyoming - Recording Interrogations Compendium

Wyoming - Recording Interrogations Compendium

Information on the policy and history of recording custodial interrogations in Wyoming.

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Summary

Wyoming has no statute or court rule requiring recording of custodial interrogations.

Cases

Lee v. State, 2 P.3d 517, 527 (Wyo. 2000): “There is no requirement in the law of Wyoming that interviews and interrogations be electronically recorded.”

Lara v. State, 25 P.3d 507, 511 (Wyo. 2001):

The district court noted that the problems that came up in the suppression hearing, as well as in this appeal, could be avoided if tape recorders were used in interviews. The district court also noted that the county attorney’s office repeatedly had been reminded that it would be a good idea to tape interviews:

‘Instead they want to do it some other way and they expose themselves in every case to the–to the allegations that–that something was left out or misinterpreted or incorrectly emphasized, and they have to end up explaining to me and to the jury why they don’t do it. Their explanations don’t make sense to me, but I don’t–it’s not my prerogative to tell them they have to do that.’

…we agree with the district court that tape- recorded interviews do leave far fewer loose ends to be tied up and in many, if not most, instances would be a well-advised protocol to follow.

Miscellaneous

The Gillette, Wyoming News Record, April 28, 2010: “The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office has begun recording interrogations, a move agency officials say was influenced by the outcome of a molestation trial.  Video cameras have been installed in the agency’s four interview rooms and a polygraph room . . . . In the past, the Sheriff’s Office has come under fire for not taping interviews.  In many cases, there was no video or audio recording of what was said during an interview – a practice defense attorneys often attacked to try to discredit deputies’ testimony.  The issue came to the forefront in September 2008 when a Gillette woman was found not guilty of molestation charges after testifying that her confession had been coerced . . . . The verdict forced the Sheriff’s Office to re-examine its policy.  After months of internal discussion, officials issued a directive requiring deputies to record every interview when practical,…”  It’s kind of a trend in law enforcement,” [a Sheriff’s Department Lt.] said.  “It’s what the courts want.  It’s what the prosecutors want…In a poll of the state’s 23 sheriff’s offices, The News Record found that Campbell County was the only department that didn’t regularly record what suspects say….Campbell County Sheriff … hopes the new video system will eliminate any questions jurors have about what was said during an interview. I think they’re a great addition to the department, [the Sheriff] said.”

Departments we have identified that presently record:

Campbell CS Cody Laramie CS
Casper Gillette City Lovell
Cheyenne Laramie Park CS