CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has reversed a decision by Laramie County District Court Judge Thomas Campbell concerning the appointment of an estate administrator in a federal civil rights claim against the city of Cheyenne.
Andrew Johnson filed a federal civil rights claim against the city of Cheyenne and several police officers for wrongful conviction and imprisonment after he was deemed innocent regarding a burglary in 1989 in which he was arrested.
The Supreme Court examined the issue of “did the probate court err in finding that the state of Wyoming had standing to object to the appointment of an administrator for Georgie W. Stanford’s estate.”
The Supreme Court found that the state didn’t have standing to object to the estate appointment, and, because of this, the probate court inappropriately ruled on the merits of the state’s objection.
According to the Supreme Court opinion:
In 2013, DNA evidence proved Johnson’s innocence and his conviction was vacated. On April 17, 2017, he filed a lawsuit against Cheyenne and city police for civil rights violations.
One of the detectives in the case, George W. Stanford, died in 2007, and in order to go forward with a case, Johnson had to file a petition in probate court to get an appointment for an estate administrator for Stanford. The probate court appointed an administrator, but a short time later, the state objected to that appointment.
On Oct. 15, 2018, the probate court vacated the appointment and closed the estate – which the Supreme Court ultimately reversed.