WY Supreme Court upholds annulment of David Smith to Pinedale Town Council
by Pinedale Online!
December 11, 2007
The Wyoming Supreme Court issued an opinion on December 10th on the Petition for Writ of Review in the case of David M. Smith v Robert John Brito, Jr, regarding the Sublette County District Court’s decision to annul Smith’s election to the Pinedale Town Council in the 2006 municipal election.
Smith garnered the greatest number of votes, was declared the winner of one of the two open town council positions, and was sworn into office. Robert Brito was also a candidate for town council, but finished 5th in the voting. After the election, Brito filed a contest to the election alleging that Smith was not eligible to hold office. His complaint consisted of two challenges. One that Smith was not a registered voter at the time he filed for office and a second count challenging the constitutionality of two other election-related statutes.
The Supreme Court ruling read in part, “The amendments reflect a legislative decision that not being a registered voter on the day of the petition for candidacy is filed is not an inconsequential irregularity that can be judicially ignored. The will of the majority of the people who voted for Mr. Smith in the municipal election in Pinedale, while of great importance to us, cannot override the will of the popularly elected Wyoming State Legislators. We must abide by the legislative determination that Mr. Smith’s election must be declared void.”
The court also ruled that the annulment of the election of a single elected municipal official can form the basis for the award of costs in the original ruling to allow Brito to be awarded attorney’s fees. However they declined to award Brito sanctions that Smith’s appeal had “no reasonable cause for appeal”, finding, “we consider his legal arguments to have been presented cogently and in good faith. Given the importance of the issues, we feel there was adequate legal support to warrant Mr. Smith bringing this appeal.”
David M. Smith v Robert John Brito Jr, Petition for Writ of Review 9 page PDF
Wyoming Supreme Court Rulings
Petition of Writ Review (use this link if the Supreme Court version link becomes broken)