Campbell County Library sued to Weston County District Attorney

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A report accusing local library management of promoting obscene material will be reviewed by the Weston County District Attorney, who was appointed a special prosecutor Tuesday by the Campbell County Board of Commissioners.

The decision was made at the regular meeting of commissioners on October 5, after Campbell County Deputy District Attorney Sean Brown informed council his office could not ethically or fairly investigate a filed criminal report. against the library.

Such an investigation, according to the Wyoming State Bar lawyer, would constitute a conflict of interest because the Campbell County Public Library (CCPL) is a county branch and remains a client of the County Attorney’s Office. Campbell, according to Brown.

Given the seriousness of the allegations and the potentially significant consequences if criminal charges are pursued, any decision by the Campbell County District Attorney’s Office could be subject to immediate scrutiny by supporters on either side of the issue, he said. Brown said.

On the one hand, if the Campbell County District Attorney’s Office chose to continue the investigation and the charges were not pursued, he continued, there would undoubtedly be a group of people who would accuse the office to be biased or too lenient in its decision.

On the flip side, Brown said, if charges were laid, they would sue a Campbell County entity that, as the county attorney’s office, would have to defend itself.

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“This is an impossible situation for our lawyer’s office to resolve in an efficient and transparent manner,” Brown told the committee.

As such, the only solution is to request an impartial review by the Weston County District Attorney’s Office, which, with the Commissioners’ decision on Tuesday, will now take over the investigation and decide whether a crime has been committed as alleged. .

If Weston County decides there is something to prosecute, then it would be up to that county’s prosecutor’s office to prosecute and resolve any of those charges, Brown said.

The potential charges referenced by Brown stem from a report filed in the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office on September 29 by residents Hugh and Susan Bennet that accuses library management of disseminating obscene material through the broadcast.

Obscene material, according to WS§ 6-4-301, is defined as what the average person would find encourages an excessive interest in sexual matters, portrays or describes sexual behavior in a clearly offensive manner, and lacks literary seriousness, artistic, political or scientific value.

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This is the latest attempt by a relatively small, albeit noisy, group of disgruntled residents to pressure the library and county leaders to remove or move publications they deem inappropriate for CCPL children. . The group initially requested the removal of the books, but has since changed their approach to request that the materials be moved to the adult section of the library.

Until Tuesday, the matter was reviewed by the Campbell County Attorney’s Office, which initially verbally refused to press charges when the matter was first sent to the office for review, according to the Campbell County Sheriff. , Scott Matheny.

At the time, Campbell County District Attorney Mitch Damsky declined to comment on an ongoing criminal issue, although he confirmed that three of his deputies were reviewing the report.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Damsky had said. “Like I said, my best minds are working on it right now and they will decide whether or not it is going to be charged.”

The Weston County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment for this story.


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