Wyoming Laws on Assisted Suicide


Wyoming does not recognize common law and has no statute explicitly criminalizing assisted suicide. The state's statutes includes a reference stating "Criminal liability for death of another as result of accused's attempt to kill self or assist another's suicide, 40 ALT4th 702" in section 6-1-201. Accessory before the fact:

§ 6-1-201. Accessory before the fact.

(a) A person who knowingly aids or abets in the commission of a felony, or who counsels, encourages, hires, commands or procures a felony to be committed, is an accessory before the fact.

(b) An accessory before the fact:

(i) May be indicted, informed against, tried and convicted as if he were a principal;

(ii) May be indicted, informed against, tried and convicted either before or after and whether or not the principal offender is indicted, informed against, tried or convicted; and

(iii) Upon conviction, is subject to the same punishment and penalties as are prescribed by law for the punishment of the principal.

HISTORY: (Laws 1982, ch. 75, § 3; 1983, ch. 171, § 1.)

NOTES:

This section creates a separate and distinct offense from that of the principal. Linn v. State, 505 P.2d 1270, 1973 Wyo. LEXIS 139 (Wyo. 1973). See also Goldsmith v. Cheney, 447 F.2d 624, 1971 U.S. App. LEXIS 8271 (10th Cir. 1971).

Jurisdiction exists if felony occurs within this state.

Former statutory language, "may be tried and convicted in the same manner as if he were a principal," granted Wyoming jurisdiction if the felony occurred here regardless of where the accessorial acts took place. Hopkinson v. State, 632 P.2d 79, 1981 Wyo. LEXIS 357 (Wyo. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 922, 102 S. Ct. 1280, 71 L. Ed. 2d 463, 1982 U.S. LEXIS 698 (1982).
The decision in Hopkinson v. State, 632 P.2d 79, 1981 Wyo. LEXIS 357 (Wyo. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 922, 102 S. Ct. 1280, 71 L. Ed. 2d 463, 1982 U.S. LEXIS 698 (1982), restricting the holding in Goldsmith v. Cheney, 468 P.2d 813, 1970 Wyo. LEXIS 164 (Wyo. 1970), overruled on other grounds, Hopkinson v. State, 632 P.2d 79, 1981 Wyo. LEXIS 357 (Wyo. 1981), did not violate the ex posto facto clause of the United States constitution. Hopkinson v. Shillinger, 645 F. Supp. 374, 1986 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21918 (D. Wyo. 1986), modified on other grounds, 866 F.2d 1185, 1989 U.S. App. LEXIS 613 (10th Cir. 1989).

Or any accessorial acts.

This state has jurisdiction over an accessory before the fact if any accessorial acts occurred in Hopkinson v. State, 632 P.2d 79, 1981 Wyo. LEXIS 357 (Wyo. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 922, 102 S. Ct. 1280, 71 L. Ed. 2d 463, 1982 U.S. LEXIS 698 (1982). See also Goldsmith v. Cheney, 468 P.2d 813, 1970 Wyo. LEXIS 164 (Wyo. 1970), overruled on other grounds, Hopkinson v. State, 632 P.2d 79, 1981 Wyo. LEXIS 357 (Wyo. 1981).

Elements of aiding and abetting.

To convict one of aiding and abetting the commission of a substantive offense, it is necessary to prove that the crime in question was committed by someone and that the person charged as an aider and abettor associated himself and participated in the accomplishment and success of the criminal venture. Goldsmith v. Cheney, 447 F.2d 624, 1971 U.S. App. LEXIS 8271 (10th Cir. 1971); Hawkes v. State, 626 P.2d 1041, 1981 Wyo. LEXIS 325 (Wyo. 1981); Haight v. State, 654 P.2d 1232, 1982 Wyo. LEXIS 416 (Wyo. 1982).

Test is whether participant could be charged with principal's offense.

The test for determining whether the acts of a participant in a crime constitute those of an accomplice is whether or not the participant could also be charged with the identical offense as that committed by the principal. Wheeler v. State, 691 P.2d 599, 1984 Wyo. LEXIS 349 (Wyo. 1984).

Agreement or understanding not required.

The terms aiding, abetting and counseling do not presuppose the existence of an agreement. Goldsmith v. Cheney, 447 F.2d 624, 1971 U.S. App. LEXIS 8271 (10th Cir. 1971).

If two persons engaged in a crime are aiding or abetting each other in what they do, a previous understanding is not necessary to be shown in order to render each of them accountable for the other's acts. Espy v. State, 54 Wyo. 291, 92 P.2d 549, 1939 Wyo. LEXIS 18 (1939); Lujan v. State, 423 P.2d 388, 1967 Wyo. LEXIS 138 (Wyo. 1967).

A "concert of action" does not necessitate actual words or written compact. Borrego v. State, 423 P.2d 393, 1967 Wyo. LEXIS 139 (Wyo. 1967).

Accomplice and principal need not have identical intents.

A defendant must share the criminal intent of the principal if he is to be found guilty as an aider and abettor, but the law does not require that the defendant possess the identical intent as the principal. Jahnke v. State, 692 P.2d 911, 1984 Wyo. LEXIS 351 (Wyo. 1984).

And may be charged and convicted of different degrees of offense.

One who aids and abets in a homicide can be charged with and convicted of a greater or a lesser degree of offense than the principal, depending upon the mental set established at trial. Jahnke v. State, 692 P.2d 911, 1984 Wyo. LEXIS 351 (Wyo. 1984).
Criminal intent provable by relationship of parties and by joint conduct.

Although a defendant's presence at the time and place of the crime does not establish guilt as an aider, abettor or principal, an intent to engage in the criminal venture may be shown by the relationship of the parties and by their conduct before and after the offense. Haight v. State, 654 P.2d 1232, 1982 Wyo. LEXIS 416 (Wyo. 1982).

Showing of defendants' association in acts comprising each element of offense sufficient.

It is not necessary to prove that each defendant did that which was necessary to establish each element of an offense: it is sufficient to show that they were associated together in doing that which comprises each element of the offense. Edge v. State, 647 P.2d 557, 1982 Wyo. LEXIS 350 (Wyo. 1982).

Thief as accessory to receiving stolen property.

A thief stealing property may, under a proper state of facts, be an accessory of the person charged with receiving that stolen property. State v. Callaway, 72 Wyo. 509, 267 P.2d 970, 1954 Wyo. LEXIS 8 (1954).

Homicide during commission of robbery by two or more persons.

If two or more persons are jointly engaged in the perpetration of or an attempt to perpetrate a robbery, and a human being is killed during its commission by any one of the persons so jointly engaged, then each of the offenders are equally guilty of the homicide. Jones v. State, 568 P.2d 837, 1977 Wyo. LEXIS 279 (Wyo. 1977).

Duties as lookout constitute one aider and abettor.

Keeping watch while a crime is being perpetrated so as to facilitate the escape of a party actually committing it or to prevent the party from being interrupted is an aiding and abetting which constitutes a defendant/lookout a principal. Haight v. State, 654 P.2d 1232, 1982 Wyo. LEXIS 416 (Wyo. 1982).

Arranging transaction constituted aiding and abetting of delivery.

Although third party actually accomplished delivery of controlled substance when she gave bag of marijuana to undercover agent, defendant aided and abetted the delivery by taking the money from the agent and arranging the transaction. Simmons v. State, 687 P.2d 255, 1984 Wyo. LEXIS 345 (Wyo. 1984).

Purchaser of narcotics is not accomplice of defendant charged with selling such narcotics. Wheeler v. State, 691 P.2d 599, 1984 Wyo. LEXIS 349 (Wyo. 1984).

Counseling and encouraging sufficient to prove offense.

Where victim testified that mother counseled and encouraged victim to have sexual relations with mother's boyfriend, evidence was clear that mother aided and abetted boyfriend in the commission of his crime. Kavanaugh v. State, 769 P.2d 908, 1989 Wyo. LEXIS 60 (Wyo. 1989).

Lesser-included offenses.

The offense of aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter is a lesser included offense of aiding and abetting first degree murder. Jahnke v. State, 692 P.2d 911, 1984 Wyo. LEXIS 351 (Wyo. 1984).

Offense of conspiracy not identical.

The offense of conspiracy and of accessory before the fact are not identical in law or in fact. Goldsmith v. Cheney, 447 F.2d 624, 1971 U.S. App. LEXIS 8271 (10th Cir. 1971).

Offense described in § 12-6-101 distinguished.

The "minor in possession" offense described in subsection (b) of § 12-6-101 is not the same offense as "accessory before the fact" to larceny of whiskey under this section and § 6-3-402, nor does it merge into or become an included offense. Mullin v. State, 505 P.2d 305, 1973 Wyo. LEXIS 134 (Wyo. 1973), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 940, 94 S. Ct. 245, 38 L. Ed. 2d 166, 1973 U.S. LEXIS 1063 (1973).

Misdemeanors.

This section does not cover misdemeanors, and under common-law rule there are no accessories to misdemeanors. State v. Weekley, 40 Wyo. 162, 275 P. 122, 1929 Wyo. LEXIS 28, 64 A.L.R. 420 (1929).

Mental disorders, absent reduced capacity, no excuse.

A showing that the defendant was suffering from bipolar affective disorder, schizoaffective disorder and other maladies was insufficient to excuse him from the crime of accessory to first-degree murder, where he did not show that, because of this mental condition, he lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law. Miller v. State, 755 P.2d 855, 1988 Wyo. LEXIS 56 (Wyo. 1988).

Information need not refer to this section.

Proof of participation as an aider and abettor is sufficient to convict a defendant as a principal and it is not necessary for a conviction that the information upon which the defendant is charged refer to this section. Hawkes v. State, 626 P.2d 1041, 1981 Wyo. LEXIS 325 (Wyo. 1981).

Indictment adequately charged aiding and abetting.

See Neilson v. State, 599 P.2d 1326, 1979 Wyo. LEXIS 447 (Wyo. 1979), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1079, 100 S. Ct. 1031, 62 L. Ed. 2d 763, 1980 U.S. LEXIS 755 (1980).

Instructions.

Where evidence justified inference that defendants, who were together, acted in pursuance of design, instruction that if deceased was assaulted by defendants in pursuance of design or understanding to kill or seriously injure deceased, each is responsible for acts of the other in carrying out such design, was not error. Espy v. State, 54 Wyo. 291, 92 P.2d 549, 1939 Wyo. LEXIS 18 (1939).

Instruction on aiding and abetting, that it is not possible for a defendant to ever participate in a mere attempt to commit a crime and to do so knowingly and willfully with a specific intent, has no merit. Martinez v. State, 511 P.2d 105, 1973 Wyo. LEXIS 167 (Wyo. 1973).

Evidence sufficient for conviction.

Sufficient evidence supported defendant's conviction for accessory before the fact to burglary of junior high school. See Fales v. State, 908 P.2d 404, 1995 Wyo. LEXIS 214 (Wyo. 1995).

Death penalty for accessory to murder.

The moral guilt and personal responsibility of one who commands another to commit murder, and is therefore an accessory before the fact, justifies the death penalty. Hopkinson v. State, 664 P.2d 43, 1983 Wyo. LEXIS 325 (Wyo. 1983).

Conditional guilty plea not permissible, although admissible in trial of aider and abettor.

A plea of guilty to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, with the express reservation of the right to appeal the constitutional issues arising from the search of the defendant's premises, was not permissible. Because of this, the case was reversed and remanded to the district court for the taking of a proper plea. However, since the parties intended the defendant's stipulation to be a waiver of the necessity for the prosecution, in the trial of another charged with aiding and abetting, to establish the elements of the substantive offense, or to be an admission of the violation and to be so considered as part of the evidence, the conditional guilty plea did not alter the status or aspect of what occurred at the trial of the aider and abettor, where, although no evidence, other than the guilty plea, was introduced as to a link between the substance seized and the defendant's intent, the aider and abettor was properly convicted. Tompkins v. State, 705 P.2d 836, 1985 Wyo. LEXIS 538 (Wyo. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1052, 106 S. Ct. 1277, 89 L. Ed. 2d 585, 1986 U.S. LEXIS 659 (1986).

Applied in

Fullmer v. Meacham, 387 P.2d 1007, 1964 Wyo. LEXIS 71 (Wyo. 1964); Linn v. State, 505 P.2d 1270, 1973 Wyo. LEXIS 139 (Wyo. 1973); Richmond v. State, 554 P.2d 1217, 1976 Wyo. LEXIS 215 (Wyo. 1976); Jacobs v. State, 641 P.2d 197, 1982 Wyo. LEXIS 305 (Wyo. 1982); Eaton v. State, 660 P.2d 803, 1983 Wyo. LEXIS 294 (Wyo. 1983); Black v. State, 2002 WY 72, 46 P.3d 298, 2002 Wyo. LEXIS 77 (Wyo. 2002).

Quoted in

Osborn v. State, 672 P.2d 777, 1983 Wyo. LEXIS 376 (Wyo. 1983); Smith v. State, 880 P.2d 573, 1994 Wyo. LEXIS 91 (Wyo. 1994); Paugh v. State, 9 P.3d 973, 2000 Wyo. LEXIS 173 (Wyo. 2000)Yellowbear v. State, 2008 WY 4, 174 P.3d 1270, 2008 Wyo. LEXIS 5 (Jan. 14, 2008).

Stated in

State v. Vines, 49 Wyo. 212, 54 P.2d 826, 1936 Wyo. LEXIS 46 (1936); Lozano v. State, 751 P.2d 1326, 1988 Wyo. LEXIS 36 (Wyo. 1988).

Cited in

CSC v. State, 2005 WY 106, 118 P.3d 970, 2005 Wyo. LEXIS 130 (Aug 30, 2005)Berry v. State, 51 Wyo. 249, 65 P.2d 1097, 1937 Wyo. LEXIS 17 (1937); Hays v. State, 522 P.2d 1004, 1974 Wyo. LEXIS 209 (Wyo. 1974); Evans v. State, 653 P.2d 308, 1982 Wyo. LEXIS 399 (Wyo. 1982); Duffy v. State, 730 P.2d 754, 1986 Wyo. LEXIS 655 (Wyo. 1986); Reynoldson v. State, 737 P.2d 1331, 1987 Wyo. LEXIS 456 (Wyo. 1987); Birr v. State, 744 P.2d 1117, 1987 Wyo. LEXIS 528 (Wyo. 1987); Burke v. State, 746 P.2d 852, 1987 Wyo. LEXIS 550 (Wyo. 1987); Duffy v. State, 837 P.2d 1047, 1992 Wyo. LEXIS 100 (Wyo. 1992); Jones v. State, 902 P.2d 686, 1995 Wyo. LEXIS 150 (Wyo. 1995); Vlahos v. State, 2003 WY 103, 75 P.3d 628, 2003 Wyo. LEXIS 124 (Wyo. 2003); Cureton v. State, 2007 WY 168, 169 P.3d 549, 2007 Wyo. LEXIS 180 (Oct. 24, 2007).

Law reviews.

For article, "Goodbye 3-Card Monte: The Wyoming Criminal Code of 1982" (part one), see XIX Land & Water L. Rev. 107 (1984).

For article, "Goodbye 3-Card Monte: The Wyoming Criminal Code of 1982" (part two), see XIX Land & Water L. Rev. 509 (1984).

For case note, "Constitutional Law--Double Jeopardy--A Constitutional Protection or a Formality to Sidestep in Successive Prosecutions Harvey v. State, 835 P.2d 1074, 1992 Wyo. LEXIS 75 (Wyo. 1992)," see XXVIII Land & Water L. Rev. 661 (1993).

For article, "The Wyoming Criminal Code Revisited: Reflections after Fifteen Years," see XXXIII Land and Water L. Rev. 523 (1998).

Am. Jur. 2d, ALR and C.J.S. references.

Accessory before fact in manslaughter, 95 ALR2d 175.

Acquittal of principal, or his conviction of lesser degree of offense, as affecting prosecution of accessory, or aider and abettor, 9 ALR4th 972.

Criminal liability for death of another as result of accused's attempt to kill self or assist another's suicide, 40 ALR4th 702.

Sufficiency of evidence of instigating or assisting escape from federal custody, under 18 USCS § 752(a), 74 ALR Fed 816.

HIERARCHY NOTES:
Tit. 6 Note
Tit. 6, Ch. 1 Note
Tit. 6, Ch. 1, Art. 2 Note


Source: The Legislature of the State of Wyoming, "Wyoming State Statutes," www.legisweb.state.wy.us (accessed Nov. 12, 2012)