Circuit, District Court Focus of 'You Be the Judge'

From left, Christopher Sherwood, District Judge John Fenn and Circuit Court Judge Shelley Cundiff. (Photo by Pat Blair)

A circuit court case and two from district court were the focus of the first night of “You Be the Judge” Tuesday as members of the audience became judges for a night at the Sheridan County Courthouse.

Designed to educate Wyoming citizens on the purposes and responsibilities of Wyoming's judicial system, as Circuit Judge Shelley Cundiff explained before the event started.

The circuit court case was a landlord/tenant action, then there was a district court criminal sentencing and an appeal to district court from action taken by a school board. District Judge John Fenn was also at the event, but District Judge William Edelman was unable to attend because he was trying a case.

Decisions were mixed, and the audience asked questions as the judges explained their roles. Cundiff said all criminal cases start in circuit court, but misdemeanors stay in circuit court while felonies advance to district court. Fenn said district court also handles probates, juvenile cases and adoptions. He said both courts are open to the public, except when juveniles are involved.

Sheridan Media interviewed Christopher Sherwood, president of the Sheridan County Bar Association, which organized the event.

“You Be the Judge” is a two-part event that will continue Thursday night at Sheridan College, Sherwood said.

He said there will also be a Fourth Amendment search-and-seizure argument before the court. That will start at 6 p.m. in the Whitney Building at the college.

View more photos below.

Some of Tuesday night's audience. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Another view of Christopher Sherwood. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Volunteer "judges" from the audience get seated. (Photo by Pat Blair)