NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Gillette judge holds public defender in contempt

GILLETTE (WNE) — Circuit Court Judge Paul S. Phillips acknowledged to state legislators that he is fining the Wyoming director of the Public Defenders program $1,500 per day for contempt.

Phillips was asked by Interim Judiciary Committee Co-Chairwoman Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, if he was holding Diana Lozano in contempt and fining her $1,000 per day since May 23, the day she notified Campbell County judges that her office would no longer represent misdemeanor defendants in cases.

She also notified Natrona County at the same time.

The two jurisdictions are among the busiest in the state.

Phillips clarified to Nethercott that he’s not fining Lozano $1,000 per day in contempt for every day the Public Defender’s office doesn’t comply. It’s $1,500 a day.

Phillips, who said he has hired his own legal representation, said he felt it would be inappropriate for him to appear Tuesday afternoon when the committee will discuss the issue.

But Nethercott, an attorney, said she wished he would be present and then asked him about his contempt of court measure.

“As the acceleration of the issue increases, I hope you will be here,” Nethercott said in the short exchange.


Wyoming ranked among worst for children’s online safety

TORRINGTON (WNE) — With a full week of summer break under their belts, Goshen County youth have had more time to log on various online gaming and social-media sites – a near inevitability that puts them at higher risk for cyber threats, including bullying, predators, and inappropriate content. 

What’s more, online safety and security review company SafeWise recently ranked Wyoming among the five states with the least supportive laws to protect children from such threats, with a “D” grade. 

While the state does have laws in place to address cyber-bullying or online harassment, and schools do discipline students for cyber-bullying, this does not include off-campus offenses. In addition, Wyoming does not have any legal consequences for online harassment, and there are no laws or penalties for sexting – sending or receiving sexually explicit messages, which may or may not include images. 

To grade each state, SafeWise looked at laws for both sexting and cyber-bullying and assigned points to states based on the types of laws currently on the books and the consequences for violating those laws, according to the SafeWise website ( If a state has a law proposed, partial points were granted. School policies and consequences were also factors. Letter grades were determined based on the total points, with higher points earning higher grades. 

Statistically, SafeWise claims nearly 34 percent of kids age 12–17 have been cyber-bullied at some point in their life, and 11.5 percent have bullied someone else online; girls make up the majority (78 percent) of victims of child predators, while the majority (82 percent) of online predators are male.


Rock Springs man accused of sniffing glue, crashing car into house

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — A Rock Springs man remains inside the Sweetwater County Detention Center after driving into a home while reportedly being high on glue. He is also accused of vehicular homicide in a separate case. 

Around 1:17 p.m. Friday, Rock Springs police officers responded to a vehicle crash. Nicholas Sheridan, 31, was driving an Inter Mountain Electric truck east on Dewar Drive when he left the south side of the roadway and crashed into a home in the 500 block of Dewar Drive. No one was inside the home at the time of the crash, but there was significant damage to the home and truck, according to a RSPD press release. 

Sheridan was treated for minor injuries at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and then arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence; and failure to maintain a single lane. Nicholas was also issued additional citations for allegedly sniffing glue and similar toxic vapors and not wearing a seat belt. 

Nicholas also had an active warrant issued from Laramie County for alleged vehicular homicide.


Guilty plea entered in Torrington stabbing

TORRINGTON (WNE) — Amy Palomo, of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent, after her part in attacking a pair of victims with knives in a downtown Torrington parking lot in December. 

Palomo could face up to five years in prison because she “did knowingly possess a knife which was used to cause bodily harm to a victim,” according to court documents. 

She will be sentenced Aug. 5 in Judge Patrick Korell’s Eighth Judicial District Court, and her pre-sentence investigation is under way. 

Her brother, Adam Palomo, is – at the time of this writing – going to trial for the same charge. His trial is scheduled for June 18 at 9 a.m. and is scheduled for three days. 

The charges were filed in early December after Torrington Police Department officers responded to a call of a stabbing in a parking lot. 

According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause filed by Torrington Police Department Patrolman Jeff Ryall, officers were dispatched a little after 1 a.m. When officers arrived, the affidavit said, they found two victims with knife wounds. 

“(One victim) had lacerations to her right leg and upper left arm,” the affidavit said. “(The victim) advised that she had been stabbed by Amy Palomo.” 

The victim told officers that she knew Palomo, and that the male victim had a relationship with a relative of Palomo’s in the past, the affidavit said. 

Amy Palomo is currently out of jail after posting a $10,000 bond. Adam Palomo is still housed at the Goshen County Detention Center.