Wyoming Public Records
Seeking public records in Wyoming is a challenge. This state is notorious for not providing citizens with requested information. In fact, they received the lowest ranking in the country from the Center for Public Integrity in 2015. However, the state government receives few requests given its sparse population.
Wyoming has a host of things going against requesters including no formal response time, no enforcement, and no appeals process. This is why we are providing a state-by-state guide to help those seeking information find out what they need to do and where they need to go. Below is information about the State of Wyoming.
Table of Contents
- 1 What does the Wyoming public records law say?
- 2 How can a person access public records in Wyoming?
- 3 Wyoming criminal records
- 4 Wyoming inmate records
- 5 Wyoming court records
- 6 Wyoming vital records
- 7 Frequently asked questions about Wyoming records
- 7.1 Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?
- 7.2 Is there a records custodian in Wyoming?
- 7.3 What exemptions exist?
- 7.4 Are property records considered public records?
- 7.5 How long does that state have to respond?
- 7.6 Is there an appeals process in place?
- 7.7 What fees are associated with requesting public records?
What does the Wyoming public records law say?
Wyoming has virtually no real teeth in its open records laws as there is no time limit to respond to requests, no way to enforce that requests be approved, and no way to appeal denials administratively.
However, those who don’t live in the state can request public documents and information and the open records law does apply to every government agency and all three government branches, the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches. There is no list of exemptions and non designated records custodian.
To learn more about conducting a public records search, visit Wyoming.gov.
How can a person access public records in Wyoming?
Some records are available online while others require a formal request. If a request is necessary, it can be delivered by mail, email, or by phone to the record-holding department.
Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places. This can be done by email, mail or by phone depending on the department where the request is submitted. In general, a public records request should include:
- Your name and contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address
- The name of the document you want access to with as much detail as possible
- A specific time period that you’d like to receive the materials by
- How to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail
Due to COVID-19, some public offices may have limited hours of operation. As a result, online requests are best, but if you want to go in person you should call ahead.
Wyoming criminal records
Criminal records are useful when people need to do certain things like get a job, a security clearance or certain licenses or certifications. They are also used by families when hiring independent works like maids, caretakers and babysitters. Accurate criminal records are also to voter registration as inaccurate reporting can deny citizens the right to vote.
Criminal history in Wyoming is maintained forever unless it is expunged. This includes cases where charges are dismissed or where there was no prosecution. The offender must file for an expungement to ask the court to remove it from the record. Filing for expungement does not automatically mean it will be granted. A judge will rule on the matter.
What’s on a criminal record?
Criminal records contain information regarding a person’s contact with law enforcement and the courts. This can be arrests, charges or how a case was decided. Details are pulled from local police departments, local criminal courts and the state prison system. While every state can have different things on a criminal record, there are typically five things on a person’s criminal record:
- Name, birthday and nationality
- Distinguishing features such as tattoos
- A list of all offenses, both misdemeanors and felonies, with details of crimes.
Where can a person find Wyoming criminal records?
In Wyoming, those seeking criminal background checks need to go to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation within the office of the Attorney General. This is the designated place as the central repository for criminal history record information. There is no guarantee the division will give you the records you are looking for.
Wyoming inmate records
Employers or others want to know an inmate’s status or history while incarcerated. This can be of particular importance to crime victims as they may want to object to possible parole or release. Inmate information can include a lot of information about the incarceration, release date as well as the crime. Inmate records can also be useful when proving to employers that offenders have served their time or had good conduct while incarcerated.
What’s on an inmate record?
Wyoming is similar to other states in what it has on an inmate record. Once a requester gets an inmate record, they will have the information such as basic personal information like the name, a birthdate and the gender, a mug shot and inmate location, an inmate registration number and jail transfer information, along with custody status
Where can a person find Wyoming inmate records?
- Resource: Wyoming Department of Corrections
The State of Wyoming has an offender locator page online at the Wyoming Department of Corrections website. To do a search, you would either need to know the WDOC inmate number or the first two letters of the offender’s last name. There are other search options, such as age and gender, that can be used to narrow results. There is no fee for the online search.
Wyoming court records
Court records are sometimes sought because of all the information they contain about a case. This can be used in a variety of ways but typically are used in related court cases. For instance, a criminal court case could be used in a divorce or custody dispute or to ask for stiffer penalties in another separate but related crime.
There could be other reasons for requesting court files including researching possible business partners or proceeding with adoption requests.
What’s on a court record?
Court records include all aspects of a specific court case beginning with the initial arrest or civil court filing. They can also include things like court transcripts, depositions, dockets, case files, court minutes, court orders, jury records, sentencing or judgement information and witness documentation. These are huge files and could cost some to have copies made.
Where can a person find Wyoming court records?
- Resource: Wyoming Judicial Branch
Wyoming doesn’t have an online tool to search for all cases although it does allow for appellent case searches at the Clerk’s Office of the Wyoming Supreme Court. Someone requesting information about court records should start at the Wyoming Judicial Branch where it has all the courts listed on one page along with a link to forms and help organizations to weave your way through the state’s judicial system. It could mean that you may need to physically go to the local court or contact the local clerk of court or county clerk by phone, email or mail to obtain the court documents you are seeking.
Records of all court cases are kept at the local levels of courts wherever the case is heard. It is helpful if you have a docket number or the names of both parties when you are attempting to find a court case file. It may also be helpful to know the date and year it was filed.
There could be fees associated with copying, although those listed on the state website tend to offer free services.
Wyoming vital records
Vital records are probably the most important records to obtain for most people as they are proof of both life’s moments as well as identity and are often used in legal cases such as probate court and settling an estate.
These include birth certificates and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce papers, and adoption records. Many of these records are required for things like attending school, playing sports, getting a driver’s license, housing agreements, getting married and adoption.
What information is needed to request a vital record?
States have established new protocols for obtaining vital records, like birth records, to address privacy concerns. Anyone requesting a vital record or certified copies of a vital record must submit:
- The approximate date and place of the event
- The full name of the person, including maiden names and
- A case file number for divorce record or a license number for marriage records.
Where can a person find Wyoming vital records?
- Resource: Wyoming Department of Public Health
In Wyoming, records can be obtained by those who establish their interest in the records. Most vital records can be obtained through the Wyoming Department of Health. The DOH has an online service for most vital records requests. However, death records that are more than 50 years old must be obtained from the Wyoming State Archives.
Frequently asked questions about Wyoming records
For those looking for more information, here are frequently asked questions about Wyoming public records:
Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?
Yes. Whether you live in Cheyenne, Laramie, Casper, or Manhattan, you can submit a request for public documents.
Is there a records custodian in Wyoming?
No, there are no records custodians for all of the state’s records. However, the state does have a custodian for criminal records, which is the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. Because there is no public records custodian, appealing a denial is impossible without going to court.
What exemptions exist?
There are no exemptions listed. In fact, the Wyoming open records law doesn’t even address exemptions at all.
Are property records considered public records?
Yes. Real estate records are available through the county assessor’s office.
How long does that state have to respond?
There isn’t a specific time frame to fulfill a request for public records.
Is there an appeals process in place?
There is no appeals process so requestors would need to take agencies who deny them to court. However, attorney fees for taking a public entity to court over public records access are recoverable.
What fees are associated with requesting public records?
By law, fees for the real cost of materials to fulfill the request may be charged, but not labor. There could be additional fees from the Department of Motor Vehicles for data requested for commercial purposes.