Laramie residents are set to get a firsthand look at the state legal system this month through a Wyoming Supreme Court-sponsored program in which local judges and lawyers put on a series of mock trials and skits.

The You Be the Judge program is designed to teach Wyoming residents about the judicial system and provide an inside look into how the law works and the ways judges make decisions. This is the first time Laramie has hosted a You Be the Judge event, said Tori Kricken, staff attorney for Wyoming’s 2nd Judicial District.

The event, which is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Nov. 18 and 19 at the third-floor courtroom in the Albany County Courthouse, features Wyoming Supreme Court Justice, District and Circuit Court judges and local attorneys.

It is co-sponsored by the Wyoming 2nd Judicial District, the University of Wyoming College of Law, the Wyoming Bar Association and the Potter Law Club.

“This one will encompass both Albany County and Carbon County, but it will take place just in Laramie,” said Monica Houston, who is externing with Kricken’s office.

Participants plan to present a variety of legal scenarios. The first day, attendees learn about civil and criminal cases: a divorce and child custody trial, a sentencing hearing and a dispute between a landlord and tenant.

The second day focuses more on procedural and constitutional matters, from judicial selection to fourth amendment issues.

“They’re cases we see often, so we thought they would have a particular appeal to the public — things Laramie community members could relate to,” Kricken said.

After the attorneys present arguments, UW law professors would facilitate audience discussion and the judges would give feedback on the decision-making process, Kricken said.

The event is free to the public and open to people of all ages.

“We’ve recruited civics classes at the junior high and the elementary schools, because we think elementary school age and up would have a good time and be able to get something out of this program,” Kricken said.

District Court judges Jeffrey Donnell and Wade E. Waldrip, representing Albany County and Carbon County, respectively, and Circuit Court Judge Robert Castor are scheduled to participate Nov. 18, and Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice James E. Burke is scheduled to make an appearance the following evening, along with fellow Supreme Court justices Michael Davis, Kate Fox and Keith Kautz.

Participating attorneys include Kurt Britzius, deputy Albany County and prosecuting attorney, as well as Tom Fleener, Vaughn Neubauer and other lawyers from local firms. Attorneys are eligible for two continuing legal education credit hours through the Wyoming State Bar each night, for a total of four credits.

“I’m really excited about it because I think it really gives the public an opportunity to see how judicial decision-making is much more complicated than they think,” Kricken said.



What: You Be the Judge program

When: 6-8 p.m. Nov. 18-19

Where: Albany County Courthouse, third floor

How much: Free

More info: Contact Tori Kricken at or 721-5554.

(2) comments


Excellent opportunity! Hopefully attendees will learn that many citizens don't clearly understand the laws or their rights or even how the court system works. No, it's not like on TV.

Matthew Brammer

....but Law and Order is so captivating! You mean the real world is different? Psssh.

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