Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Change of venue sought

Media blamed

 

August 29, 2018



Green River Councilman Allan Wilson is seeking a change of venue for a trial to take place on two counts of alleged sexual abuse of a minor citing there is no way he could have a fair trial in Sweetwater County due to overly excessive news media coverage.

Allan D. Wilson is charged with one felony count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor which allegedly took place in Lincoln County and one felony count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, which allegedly took place in Sweetwater County.

Because the cases involve the same alleged victim, a motion was made to join the cases and was granted.

Third District Court Judge Nena James is now presiding over both cases and all of the Lincoln County documents are in the Green River court.

If found guilty of both counts, Wilson could face a maximum of 70 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.

According to a document titled “Motion for Change of Venue,” filed Aug. 22, in the Third District Court of Judge James, stated since Wilson is a councilman, the case has been covered extensively and consistently by the media and public interest in the case that it makes “it impossible for the defendant to have any expectation of a fair or impartial trial in Sweetwater County.”

The document recommends Judge James grant the change of venue to Sublette County where such media coverage hasn’t taken place to the extent that it has in Sweetwater, Lincoln and Uinta counties.

The document states to ensure a fair and impartial trial it must be moved.

“In summary, ever since the matter was filed in January of 2018, the local media was notified or able to ascertain the identity of the defendant even with the protections afforded him in Circuit Court. Every filing in this matter, by either party, no matter how mundane, has resulted in articles published in the Green River Star and Rocket Miner, as well as the internet sites wyo4radio.com and Sweetwaternow.com. News stories and mention of this care are also routinely broadcast extensively on local radio following every filing or action in this matter and following every court proceeding.”

The court document also states the reasoning for moving the trial to Sublette County would be the best and most fair location for all involved because of its proximity to Kemmerer and Green River. It also has enough lodging available for those who wanted to stay. Plus witnesses and counsel could travel between their homes and Pinedale if they wanted to.

“While the case may have been mentioned in the Sublette County newspapers as it has been throughout the area, there appears to be no ongoing media scrutiny of the case. None of the defendant’s family or close associates live in Sublette County.”

A hearing for the matter has been scheduled for Sept. 5 at 11:30 a.m.

 

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