The Wyoming court system is comprised of Municipal Courts, Circuit Court, District Courts and Supreme Court.
Municipal Courts are located in cities and towns throughout the state of Wyoming. These courts hear all municipal ordinance violations; they do not hear civil cases. Penalties in this court may be imposed up to $750 in fines and/or six months' imprisonment.
The state's Circuit Courts are located throughout the state's nine judicial districts. Each of the state's 23 counties has a Circuit Court. These courts hear civil claims of up to $50,000, domestic violence, misdemeanor cases and municipal ordinance violations if the Municipal Court requests such and the Supreme Court agrees. These courts also set bail amounts and conduct preliminary trial hearings for felony cases.
Wyoming's District Courts are the trial courts of the state and exercise general jurisdiction over felony and civil cases, juvenile cases and probate. These courts also hear appeals from lower courts. Civil cases with claims less than $50,000, small claims and misdemeanor cases are sent to Circuit Courts. There are 23 judges serving the District Court in nine judicial districts.
The Wyoming Supreme Court has five justices and is located in Cheyenne. This is the court of last resort in the state, and any party wishing to appeal its decisions must do so with the U.S. Supreme Court.
A very notable case originating in Wyoming is that of Mike Hickey and Mark Hopkinson and the murder of four innocent people. Hopkinson came back to Bridger Valley, Wyoming after a football scholarship went south due to a knee injury and he subsequently served time in a federal prison for a drug conviction. Later, in 1977, Hopkinson was due to fight with a sewer board over refusal to pay hookup fees. The night before his deposition, an attorney involved in the litigation was killed in a house explosion, along with his wife and son.
A girl by the name of Kellie Wyckhuyse also went missing approximately one year prior to the explosion. However, a witness came forward by the name of Jeff Green and claimed Mike Hickey killed the missing girl and Hopkinson was involved in the attorney's house bombing.
Green's body was later found in Bridger Valley. He was tortured and burned before being killed by a gunshot to the neck, just shortly before he was scheduled to testify to the grand jury against Hopkinson. Although Hopkinson was serving an unrelated sentence in federal prison in California at the time, it was later proven that he orchestrated the murder via phone calls.
Mike Hickey ultimately confessed to murdering the missing girl, Wyckhuyse, saying Hopkinson knew about the murder but agreed to keep quiet in exchange for Hickey blowing up the attorney's house and $2,000. Authorities offered Hickey 20 years and protection from Hopkinson in exchange for his testimony against him. Hopkinson was given the death penalty for Green's murder and was executed in 1992. Mike Hickey was released in 1999, and now lives a quite life on a ranch with his family in Lonetree, Wyoming.