Wyoming News Briefs - Friday, Oct. 2
October 1, 2020
Jackson mayor says record release broke law
JACKSON (WNE) — Mayor Pete Muldoon is exploring his legal options after the Teton County Sheriff’s Office released 2018 reports wherein a woman accused him of sexual assault.
“This was a false allegation, period,” Muldoon said. “I’ve contacted an attorney as I think the Sheriff’s Department has obviously and willfully violated my rights under state statute, and must be held accountable.”
The sheriff’s office, with the guidance of the Teton County Prosecutor’s Office, released two police reports last week where they redacted the name of the accuser but didn’t redact Muldoon’s name.
The name of the alleged suspect in a sex assault is supposed to remain confidential until probable cause is found for indictment, per Wyoming’s restricted disclosure law. (6-2-319)
Teton County Prosecuting Attorney Erin Weisman said because no charges were ever filed against Muldoon that his name is subject to release.
Muldoon, who’s running for a Jackson Town Council seat, said the sheriff’s office should be investigated, because the state law says the release of a name prior to felony arraignment is a misdemeanor crime.
“Up until last week, the system worked as it should have,” Muldoon said. “An allegation was made, treated seriously, thoroughly investigated, and properly found to be untrue. I was asked whether I wanted to press charges against the person making a false report, and I declined as I was assured that in cases where the allegations were false, the law prohibited the release of information to the public — as it should.”
Riverton auditorium moves ahead despite funding postponement
RIVERTON (WNE) — State and local officials are moving forward with plans for a new auditorium at Riverton High School despite a funding postponement from Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.
The Fremont County School District 25 Board of Trustees approved a contract with the state this month for the $8.2 million construction project.
FCSD 25 superintendent JoAnne Andre-Flanagan said the move would “assure we would not have to start over with anything … even though the funding has been postponed.”
She reiterated that Gordon issued a “postponement – not a cancellation” and noted that Wyoming’s Select Committee on School Facilities recently agreed to draft legislation to continue to fund the project.
“They’re very supportive of it,” Andre-Flanagan said. “They’ll continue to push for funding as it becomes available.”
During a meeting last week, Andre-Flanagan said she had spoken with an official with the state construction department who indicated the project would move forward in the future.
“He felt like funding would come around and would be there, and as soon as the money was in place everything was ready to roll,” she said. “It was an encouraging conversation.”
Funding for the project was part of a bill passed this year by the Wyoming Legislature, but subsequent budget cuts tied to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing Wyoming energy recession led Gov. Mark Gordon to halt the project.
Man sentenced in allegations he hit two with truck
PINEDALE (WNE) — Ivan G. Sandoval, facing two felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and drunk driving after arguing with and hitting a man and a woman with his truck, reached an agreement to plead “no contest” to lesser charges.
At Sandoval’s preliminary hearing Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Sublette County Circuit Court, Judge Curt Haws referred to the plea agreement that Deputy County Attorney Clayton Melinkovich and public defender Rachel Weksler reached that morning to reduce the felony aggravated assault charges to misdemeanor charges of reckless endangering.
“I understand there was an agreement reached this morning to resolve this case,” Judge Haws said during the videoconference, referring to the second amended criminal information filed in the case.
Sandoval agreed to plead “no contest” to the two reckless endangering and driving while intoxicated charges. In return, the attorneys agreed to 365-day sentences with 331 suspended and credit for 34 days served while Sandoval has been in custody. The remainder – 14 days – could be served in 48-hour increments. Sandoval would also receive three years of supervised probation, be required to take a substance abuse evaluation and be fined $250 for each misdemeanor.
Weksler clarified that each sentence would be served at the same time.