Wyoming

(information last updated Fall 2017)

Collection of Information:

Explicitly Prohibits:

“A person is guilty of trespassing to unlawfully collect resource data from private land if he: . . . [e]nters onto private land for the purpose of collecting resource data; and . . . [d]oes not have: . . . [a]n ownership interest in the real property or, statutory, contractual or other legal authorization to enter the private land to collect the specified resource data; or . . . [w]ritten or verbal permission of the owner . . . to enter the private land to collect the specified resource data.”   Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-414.  Additionally, A person is guilty of trespassing to access adjacent or proximate land if she “[c]rosses private land to access adjacent or proximate land where he collects resource data” and does not have written or verbal permission to do so.  Id.  These offenses are punishable by up to one year imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine.  Id.

 

“[R]esource data” means “data relating to land or land use, including but not limited to data regarding agriculture, minerals, geology, history, cultural artifacts, archaeology, air, water, soil, conservation, habitat, vegetation or animal species.”  Id.

 

The conduct described above gives rise to civil liability.  Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 40-27-101.

Place of Collection:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

Yes. A person must have “[w]ritten or verbal permission of the owner . . . to enter . . . private land to collect . . . resource data,” regardless of whether or not notice against trespass has been given.  Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-414.

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“(a) As used in this section:

    (i)  ‘Course of conduct’ means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over any period of time evidencing a continuity of purpose;

    (ii) ‘Harass’ means to engage in a course of conduct, including but not limited to verbal threats, written threats, lewd or obscene statements or images, vandalism or nonconsensual physical contact, directed at a specific person or the family of a specific person, which the defendant knew or should have known would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and which does in fact seriously alarm the person toward whom it is directed.

. . .

(d) Except as provided under subsection (e) of this section, stalking is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00), or both.”

 

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-506.

Civil Law:

“(a)  A person who is the victim of stalking as defined by [Wyoming criminal law] may maintain a civil action against an individual who engages in a course of conduct that is prohibited under for damages incurred by the victim as a result of that conduct.  The aggrieved party may also seek and be awarded exemplary damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of the action.

“(b)  A civil action may be maintained under this section whether or not the individual who is alleged to have engaged in a course of conduct prohibited under [Wyoming criminal law]has been charged or convicted under for the alleged crime.”  Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-1-126.

 

 

Miscellaneous:

Wyoming’s data trespass law, see supra “Collection of Information [or Trespass],” was passed after the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality used citizen-collected information to list three streams as impaired.  See Amended Complaint at 3–4, Western Watersheds Project, et al. v. Michael, et al., No. 2:15-cv-00169-SWS, 2016 W.L. 3681441 (D. Wyo. July 6, 2016).  Western Watersheds Project (WWP), joined by other environmental groups, challenged the law as unconstitutional, alleging that it violated the 1st Amendment and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.  See Western Watersheds Project v. Michael, 196 F. Supp. 3d 1231 (D. Wyo. 2016).  The court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim. See id. at 1248.  The plaintiffs have appealed that decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Western Watersheds Project v. Michael, Case No. 16-08083 (10th Cir.).

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions address the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:

“Any person at any time may petition the department or the council to change the classification, add or remove a designated use, or establish site-specific criteria on any surface water.”  Wyo. Admin. Code § ENV WQ Ch. 1 § 33(a).

 

Explicitly Prohibits:

No resource data collected on private land in violation [Wyoming’s trespass law, see supra “Trespass”] is admissible in evidence in any civil, criminal or administrative proceeding[.]”  Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-414.  Additionally, “[r]esource data collected on private land in violation of [Wyoming’s trespass law] in the possession of any governmental entity . . . shall be expunged by the entity from all files and data bases, and shall not be considered in determining any agency action.”  Id.

Prohibitive by Effect:

[A]ll changes to use designations . . . shall include the consideration of credible data relevant to the decision.”  Wyo. Admin. Code § ENV WQ Ch. 1 § 35(c).  Credible data shall “[c]onsist of data collection using accepted referenced laboratory and field methods employed by a person who has received specialized training and has field experience in developing a monitoring plan, a quality assurance plan, and employing the methods outlined in such plans or works under the supervision of a person who has these qualifications.  Specialized training includes a thorough knowledge of written sampling protocols and field methods such that the data collection and interpretation are reproducible, scientifically defensible and free from preconceived bias[.]”  Id. § 35(a).

 

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “[t]he allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.”  Wyo. R. Civ. P. 11.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

 

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”  Wyo. R. Evid. 901.

Expert Testimony:

Daubert standard.  See Bunting v. Jamieson, 984 P.2d 467, 471 (Wyo. 1999).

Discussion

Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.