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City Municipal Code amended so offenses including littering, parking vehicle on public ground no longer punishable by jail

Individuals can face jail time for roughly 24 offenses through Cheyenne's Municipal Court.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Individuals charged with crimes such as loitering, having a barking dog in one’s possession or operating an excessively loud vehicle will no longer face the potential for jail time, at least through Cheyenne’s Municipal Court system.

The Cheyenne City Council voted to amend various portions of its Municipal Code at its Monday night meeting. The amendments affect the “Solid Waste” and “Noise Control” chapters of Title 8, “Health and Safety,” as well as the chapters “Offenses Against Public Peace and Decency” and “Offenses Against Property” for Title 9, “Public Peace and Welfare.”

The changes nullify the potential for jail time for certain offenses. Prior to the ordinance approval, Cheyenne law enforcement could levy jail time on criminal offenders for a first offense, City Attorney Stefanie Boster told Cap City News. However, the ordinance has removed jail punishment for the following violations:

  • Littering
  • Noise control
  • Excessively loud vehicles
  • Loitering
  • Parking a vehicle on public ground
  • Dogs barking

Anyone found guilty of shoplifting in municipal court can now only serve jail time if it’s their third offense, according to the ordinance.

The city’s governing body also passed an amendment that slightly altered language and included a new offense.

“What I didn’t realize is we have an ordinance that you can’t urinate in public, but there’s nothing against defecating in public,” Collins said, “and so this ordinance cleans up that — no pun intended — mistake in our ordinance process.”

Deputy City Attorney John Brodie said on Feb. 26 that city staff have spent more than a year drafting the changes to Titles 8 and 9 of the Cheyenne Municipal Code. He and his team have spoken with public defenders to get an idea of which offenses warrant jail time and which ones don’t.

The ordinance drew extensive discussion on Feb. 26, when councilmembers discussed the document on second reading. The main topic of interest was shoplifting. The ordinance clarifies that the crime is a misdemeanor and shoplifters may only serve jail time after a third offense.

“Shoplifting is an important thing to address, and I think we’re doing OK with that,” Cheyenne Police Chief Mark Francisco said Feb. 26. “At the same time, I don’t feel like this ordinance is gonna downgrade our ability to deal with it.”

Collins provided examples of jailable offenses in other Wyoming cities during the second reading. He noted that Cheyenne has the most jailable offenses within a municipal court in the Cowboy State. Roughly 24 criminal offenses are jailable in Wyoming’s capital city following Monday night’s meeting, according to Boster.

Collins provided the following statistics on other cities:

  • Casper only jails an individual on the first offense for a DUI. The Oil City will then jail on the second offense for 23 other crimes if committed within a year of the first offense.
  • Gillette has 10 jailable offenses, including a crime against an animal. Shoplifters and those found in possession of marijuana are booked into jail on the third offense.
  • Laramie has several jailable crimes on the first offense, including DUI, driving under a suspended license, driving with no insurance and committing a wastewater crime such as pouring chemicals into a sewer system.
  • Six crimes are jailable in Sheridan.
  • Similar to Cheyenne, every misdemeanor committed in Evanston comes with a $750 fine. Otherwise, the city has 23 jailable offenses.

Boster clarified that CPD can send anyone charged with a criminal misdemeanor to Laramie County Circuit Court rather than to municipal court on a case-by-case basis.


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