Joint Trial In Criminal Cases In Wyoming
W.R.Cr.P 8(b) and 13. Rule 8(b) provides:
(b) Joinder of defendants. - Two or more defendants may be charged in the same citation, indictment or information if they are alleged to have participated in the same act or transaction, or in the same series of acts or transactions constituting an offense or offenses. Such defendants may be charged in one or more counts together, or separately, and all of the defendants need not be charged in each count.
Rule 13 provides:
The court may order two or more indictments, informations, citations or a combination thereof to be tried together if the offenses, and the defendants, if there is more than one, could have been joined in a single indictment, information or citation. the procedure shall be the same as if the prosecution were under such single indictment, information or citation.
Our construction of Rules 8(b) and 13 remains the same as it has been for many years. Joint trials of defendants charged with committing the same offense are the rule rather than the exception. Lee v. State, 653 P.2d 1388, 1389-90 (Wyo. 1982).
The joinder of cases for trial is within the discretion of the district court, and we do not fault or adjust the trial court's ruling unless an abuse of discretion is clearly shown, together with prejudice resulting from that abuse of discretion. Warren v. State, 835 P.2d 304, 310-11 (Wyo. 1992).
In the Warren case we also observed that if the circumstances of the crimes make it difficult, if not impossible, to sort out and compartmentalize the events that occurred which constituted the crimes, then the State is entitled to have leeway in presenting the factual picture to the jury.