SUBLETTE COUNTY – Former sheriff Stephen R. Haskell’s appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court against his 2017 felony convictions and sentences will bring in the high-profile “strategic” attorney Timothy Newcomb, of Laramie.
Defense attorney Michael Bennett represented Haskell, of Big Piney, in the state’s civil removal action and criminal trial in Pinedale’s Ninth District Court. On Dec. 27, 2017, he asked the Wyoming Supreme Court for a 15-day extension to file Haskell’s legal brief.
“Undersigned counsel has enlisted the help of attorney Timothy Newcomb for purposes of co-counsel in this appeal,” the motion states. “Attorney Newcomb recently took ill … lasting approximately two weeks.”
Newcomb, who will file his entry of appearance shortly, agreed the extension from Jan. 2 to Jan. 17 was “sufficient to complete (Haskell’s) brief.”
Chief Justice James E. Burke granted the extension. Haskell is free under his sentencing terms of supervised probation.
Newcomb with attorney Linda DeVine spearheaded the successful Supreme Court appeal of former Albany County Richard C. Bohling. A November 2015 jury found Bohling guilty of four felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and a misdemeanor of official misconduct.
Bohling’s attorneys argued before the court that he never officially owned the property in question and could not be convicted for the crimes.
Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation investigated Haskell, elected as sheriff in November 2014, at Sublette County commissioners’ request. They also brought about the successful civil removal process going all the way to the Governor’s Office to prevent Haskell from administering his office.
Haskell was charged in 2016 with three felonies – obtaining property under false pretenses, unlawfully receiving property and making a false claim – and the misdemeanors of performing an official duty before qualified to do so and committing an unauthorized act as an officer. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Haskell’s jury trial took place Feb. 21-23, 2017, in Ninth District Court before presiding District Judge Stephen Cranfill of Cody. Judge Cranfill dismissed the misdemeanor of committing an unauthorized act as an officer. Special prosecutor Michael Blonigen represented the Sublette County Attorney’s Office throughout the criminal case. n