State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title7 > Chapter4

CHAPTER 4 - COUNTY CORONERS

 

ARTICLE 1 - IN GENERAL

 

7-4-101. Election; oath; bond.

 

A coroner shall be elected in each countyfor a term of four (4) years. He shall take the oath prescribed by theconstitution of the state and give bond to the state of Wyoming, in the penalsum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), with sufficient sureties, to beapproved by the board of county commissioners, conditioned that he willfaithfully perform all duties required by law.

 

7-4-102. Deputy coroners.

 

The county coroner may appoint deputycoroners, who shall serve in the absence or inability of the coroner and whoshall receive compensation as the board of county commissioners determines byresolution.

 

7-4-103. Certification requirements; penalty; expenses.

 

(a) After January 5, 1987, no person shall continue in officeas county coroner or deputy coroner unless he has been certified under W.S.9-1-634 as having completed:

 

(i) Not later than one (1) year after assuming office, a basiccoroner course;

 

(ii) Continuing education requirements promulgated by the boardof coroner standards pursuant to W.S. 7-4-211(c)(iii).

 

(b) Any person who knowingly fails to comply with subsection(a) of this section and continues in office is guilty of a misdemeanorpunishable by a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for each day ofnoncompliance.

 

(c) Each coroner or deputy coroner attending approved classesto receive the certification required by subsection (a) of this section shallreceive his present salary or per diem in the same manner and amount as stateemployees, whichever is greater, and shall be reimbursed for his actual traveland other necessary expenses reasonably incurred in obtaining the requiredtraining. The expenses shall be paid by the county in which the coroner ordeputy coroner is serving.

 

(d) After July 1, 2001, no person shall serve as deputy coroneror as an employee of a county coroner who does not meet the employmentstandards adopted by the board of coroner standards pursuant to W.S.7-4-211(c)(v).

 

7-4-104. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this chapter:

 

(i) "Coroner's case" means a case involving a deathwhich was not anticipated and which may involve any of the followingconditions:

 

(A) Violent or criminal action;

 

(B) Apparent suicide;

 

(C) Accident;

 

(D) Apparent drug or chemical overdose or toxicity;

 

(E) The deceased was unattended by a physician or otherlicensed health care provider;

 

(F) Apparent child abuse causes;

 

(G) The deceased was a prisoner, trustee, inmate or patient ofany county or state corrections facility or state hospital, whether or not thedeath is unanticipated;

 

(H) If the cause is unknown or cannot be certified by aphysician;

 

(J) A public health hazard is presented; or

 

(K) The identity of the victim is unknown or the body isunclaimed.

 

(ii) "Coroner's office" means all personnel appointedand elected to the office of coroner, including the county coroner, deputiesand assistants;

 

(iii) "County coroner" means the elected or appointedofficer of the county whose task is to investigate the cause of death in acoroner's case;

 

(iv) "Anticipated death" means the death of anindividual who had been diagnosed by a physician acting within the scope of hislicense as being afflicted with an illness or disease reasonably likely toresult in death, and there is no cause to believe the death occurred for anyreasons other than those associated with the illness or disease;

 

(v) "Unattended" means the deceased had not beenunder the care of a physician or other health care provider acting within thescope of his license within sixty (60) days immediately prior to the date ofdeath.

 

ARTICLE 2 - INQUESTS

 

7-4-201. Reports of death; investigation; summoning of jurors; fees andcosts; inspection of medical records.

 

 

(a) When any person is found dead and the death appears to haveoccurred under circumstances indicating the death is a coroner's case, theperson who discovers the death shall report it immediately to law enforcementauthorities who shall in turn notify the coroner. A person who knowinglyviolates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment fornot more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than seven hundred fiftydollars ($750.00), or both.

 

(b) When the coroner is notified that the dead body of anyperson has been found within the limits of the county or that the deathresulted from injury sustained within the county and he suspects that the deathis a coroner's case, he shall conduct an investigation which may include:

 

(i) An examination of the body and an investigation into themedical history of the case;

 

(ii) The appointment of a qualified physician to assist indetermining the cause of death;

 

(iii) An autopsy if the physician appointed to assist the coronerunder this subsection determines an autopsy is necessary;

 

(iv) An inquest; or

 

(v) Any other reasonable procedure which may be necessary todetermine the cause of death.

 

(c) If the coroner determines to hold an inquest he shallsummon three (3) citizens of the county to appear before him to act as jurorsat the time and place named. The jurors shall receive the same fee paid jurorsin district court as provided in W.S. 1-11-303 and per diem and travel expensesin the same manner as state employees. The coroner may furnish transportationfor the jury and witnesses to and from the place of inquest and for the removalof the dead body.

 

(d) If a coroner determines the injuries which caused theperson's death were received in a county other than that in which the body wasfound, he shall transfer authority for the investigation and inquest to thecoroner for that county.

 

(e) The expense and costs of conducting the investigation orholding the inquest shall be paid by the county in which the injuries werereceived. The accounts of the claimants shall be attested by the coroner oracting coroner, and shall be presented in duplicate to the board of countycommissioners of the proper county. If the board of county commissioners findsthat the inquest was necessary and in accordance with law, and the accounts arecorrect and just, the accounts shall be paid in warrants properly drawn uponthe order of the county commissioners.

 

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,the coroner may inspect medical and psychological data relating to the personwhose death is being investigated if the coroner determines the information isrelevant and necessary to the investigation.

 

7-4-202. Impaneling of bystanders as jurors; oath.

 

If any juror fails to appear, the coronershall immediately summon the proper number from the bystanders and proceed to impanel them. He shall administer the following oath: "You do solemnlyswear (or affirm) that you will diligently inquire and truly present if knownor determinable, the time and date of death, and by what means and manner thedeath of (NAME OF DECEASED) was caused, according to your knowledge and theevidence given you, so help you God."

 

7-4-203. Issuance of subpoenas; witness fees; enforcement ofattendance.

 

The coroner may issue subpoenas and compelthe attendance of witnesses to testify at the inquest. Witnesses shall beallowed the same fees as in cases before a circuit court, and the coroner shallhave the same authority to enforce the attendance of witnesses and to punishfor contempt as provided by W.S. 1-21-901 through 1-21-909.

 

7-4-204. Oath of witness; recording of testimony; compensation ofreporter.

 

An oath shall be administered to each witnessas follows: "You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that the testimony whichyou shall give to this inquest concerning the death of the person about whomthis inquest is being held, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing butthe truth, so help you God." The coroner shall insure that all testimonyin an inquest shall be recorded. The compensation of the court reporter or ofthe person transcribing the audio tape shall be as prescribed by the board ofcounty commissioners. Unless specifically requested by the coroner orprosecuting attorney, audio tapes need not be transcribed.

 

7-4-205. Return of inquisition by jury.

 

After hearing testimony and makingnecessary inquiries, the jurors shall return to the coroner their signedinquisition stating the name of the person and when, how and by what means, ifknown, he came to his death.

 

7-4-206. Coroner's return to court.

 

The coroner shall return to the districtcourt the inquisition, the written evidence and a list of witnesses providingmaterial testimony.

 

7-4-207. Disposition of body and effects of deceased.

 

 

(a) When the coroner investigates the death of a person whosebody is not claimed by a friend or relative within five (5) days of the date ofdiscovery and whose death does not require further investigation, he shall cause the body to be decently buried. The expense of the burial shall be paidfrom any property found with the body. If no property is found, the expense ofthe burial shall be paid by the county in which the investigation occurs.

 

(b) The coroner shall within a reasonable time after completingthe investigation, turn over to the appointed personal representative of theestate of the deceased or, if none, to the clerk of the district court of thecounty, all money or other property found upon the body of the deceased.Personal items valued at less than fifty dollars ($50.00) and items necessaryfor the convenience of the deceased's next of kin may be released to thedeceased's next of kin.

 

7-4-208. Authority of sheriff to perform duties of coroner.

 

Ifthere is no coroner, deputy coroner or in case of their absence, or inabilityto act, the county sheriff of the same county, the state health officerpursuant to W.S. 35-1-241, or the coroner of another county if there is a jointpowers agreement pursuant to W.S. 16-1-102 through 16-1-108 between thecounties authorizing the coroner to so act, is authorized to perform the dutiesof coroner in relation to dead bodies.

 

7-4-209. Postmortem examination; liability limitation.

 

 

(a) When an inquisition is being held, if the coroner or thejury shall deem it requisite, he may summon one (1) or more physicians orsurgeons, to make an autopsy or postmortem examination.

 

(b) If it is necessary to obtain or preserve evidence of thecause of death, the district attorney may order that a qualified physicianperform an autopsy or postmortem examination of the body of any person whoappears to have died by unlawful means, by violence, or when the cause of deathis unknown.

 

(c) No person is subject to civil liability solely because herequested or was involved in the performing of an autopsy that was ordered by acoroner or district attorney.

 

7-4-210. Fees and mileage; salary.

 

(a) The coroner or deputy coroner of each county within thisstate shall receive fees and mileage, if any, as set by the board of countycommissioners.

 

(b) The board of county commissioners shall set the salary ofthe coroner and deputy coroner. A coroner or deputy coroner shall not beprohibited from receiving other fees for their services unrelated to theirofficial duties as coroner or deputy coroner.

 

7-4-211. Board of coroner standards.

 

(a) There is created a board of coroner standards. The boardshall consist of one (1) chairman and six (6) members appointed by and whoshall serve at the pleasure of the governor as follows:

 

(i) One (1) shall be a physician with a specialty in pathologywho is licensed to practice in this state;

 

(ii) Three (3) shall be duly elected coroners in this state;

 

(iii) One (1) shall be a funeral director in this state;

 

(iv) One (1) shall be a duly elected district attorney in thisstate;

 

(v) One (1) shall be a peace officer certified under W.S.9-1-701 through 9-1-707.

 

(b) The members of the board shall be appointed to terms offour (4) years which are concurrent with the terms of the office of coroner.Board members not otherwise compensated for attending board meetings shallreceive travel expenses and per diem in the same manner and amount as stateemployees, and any other reasonable expenses upon board approval. Boardmembers not otherwise compensated shall have their expenses paid from thegeneral fund by appropriation to the office of the attorney general.

 

(c) The board shall:

 

(i) Meet at least biannually and at the call of the chairman orof a majority of the membership;

 

(ii) Promulgate standards dealing with the investigation ofcoroner's cases;

 

(iii) Promulgate educational and training requirements forcoroner basic and continuing education requirements and review thoserequirements annually;

 

(iv) Cooperate with the peace officer standards and trainingcommission in developing basic and continuing education courses for coroners;

 

(v) Promulgate employment standards for deputy coroners and coroneremployees. The standards may include the requirement that deputy coroners andcoroner employees provide to the employing coroner fingerprints and otherinformation necessary for a state and national criminal history recordbackground check and release of information as provided in W.S. 7-19-106(k)(ii)and federal P.L. 92-544 and consent to the release of any criminal historyinformation to the employing coroner.

 

(d) The peace officer standards and training commission shallcooperate with the board of coroner standards in establishing courserequirements and continuing education requirements required by law.

 

(e) The board shall contact the district attorney for thecounty or the attorney general to initiate an action and may serve ascomplaining party in an action under W.S. 7-4-103(b) or 18-3-902 to remove anycoroner who is not in compliance with W.S. 7-4-103.

 

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title7 > Chapter4

CHAPTER 4 - COUNTY CORONERS

 

ARTICLE 1 - IN GENERAL

 

7-4-101. Election; oath; bond.

 

A coroner shall be elected in each countyfor a term of four (4) years. He shall take the oath prescribed by theconstitution of the state and give bond to the state of Wyoming, in the penalsum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), with sufficient sureties, to beapproved by the board of county commissioners, conditioned that he willfaithfully perform all duties required by law.

 

7-4-102. Deputy coroners.

 

The county coroner may appoint deputycoroners, who shall serve in the absence or inability of the coroner and whoshall receive compensation as the board of county commissioners determines byresolution.

 

7-4-103. Certification requirements; penalty; expenses.

 

(a) After January 5, 1987, no person shall continue in officeas county coroner or deputy coroner unless he has been certified under W.S.9-1-634 as having completed:

 

(i) Not later than one (1) year after assuming office, a basiccoroner course;

 

(ii) Continuing education requirements promulgated by the boardof coroner standards pursuant to W.S. 7-4-211(c)(iii).

 

(b) Any person who knowingly fails to comply with subsection(a) of this section and continues in office is guilty of a misdemeanorpunishable by a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for each day ofnoncompliance.

 

(c) Each coroner or deputy coroner attending approved classesto receive the certification required by subsection (a) of this section shallreceive his present salary or per diem in the same manner and amount as stateemployees, whichever is greater, and shall be reimbursed for his actual traveland other necessary expenses reasonably incurred in obtaining the requiredtraining. The expenses shall be paid by the county in which the coroner ordeputy coroner is serving.

 

(d) After July 1, 2001, no person shall serve as deputy coroneror as an employee of a county coroner who does not meet the employmentstandards adopted by the board of coroner standards pursuant to W.S.7-4-211(c)(v).

 

7-4-104. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this chapter:

 

(i) "Coroner's case" means a case involving a deathwhich was not anticipated and which may involve any of the followingconditions:

 

(A) Violent or criminal action;

 

(B) Apparent suicide;

 

(C) Accident;

 

(D) Apparent drug or chemical overdose or toxicity;

 

(E) The deceased was unattended by a physician or otherlicensed health care provider;

 

(F) Apparent child abuse causes;

 

(G) The deceased was a prisoner, trustee, inmate or patient ofany county or state corrections facility or state hospital, whether or not thedeath is unanticipated;

 

(H) If the cause is unknown or cannot be certified by aphysician;

 

(J) A public health hazard is presented; or

 

(K) The identity of the victim is unknown or the body isunclaimed.

 

(ii) "Coroner's office" means all personnel appointedand elected to the office of coroner, including the county coroner, deputiesand assistants;

 

(iii) "County coroner" means the elected or appointedofficer of the county whose task is to investigate the cause of death in acoroner's case;

 

(iv) "Anticipated death" means the death of anindividual who had been diagnosed by a physician acting within the scope of hislicense as being afflicted with an illness or disease reasonably likely toresult in death, and there is no cause to believe the death occurred for anyreasons other than those associated with the illness or disease;

 

(v) "Unattended" means the deceased had not beenunder the care of a physician or other health care provider acting within thescope of his license within sixty (60) days immediately prior to the date ofdeath.

 

ARTICLE 2 - INQUESTS

 

7-4-201. Reports of death; investigation; summoning of jurors; fees andcosts; inspection of medical records.

 

 

(a) When any person is found dead and the death appears to haveoccurred under circumstances indicating the death is a coroner's case, theperson who discovers the death shall report it immediately to law enforcementauthorities who shall in turn notify the coroner. A person who knowinglyviolates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment fornot more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than seven hundred fiftydollars ($750.00), or both.

 

(b) When the coroner is notified that the dead body of anyperson has been found within the limits of the county or that the deathresulted from injury sustained within the county and he suspects that the deathis a coroner's case, he shall conduct an investigation which may include:

 

(i) An examination of the body and an investigation into themedical history of the case;

 

(ii) The appointment of a qualified physician to assist indetermining the cause of death;

 

(iii) An autopsy if the physician appointed to assist the coronerunder this subsection determines an autopsy is necessary;

 

(iv) An inquest; or

 

(v) Any other reasonable procedure which may be necessary todetermine the cause of death.

 

(c) If the coroner determines to hold an inquest he shallsummon three (3) citizens of the county to appear before him to act as jurorsat the time and place named. The jurors shall receive the same fee paid jurorsin district court as provided in W.S. 1-11-303 and per diem and travel expensesin the same manner as state employees. The coroner may furnish transportationfor the jury and witnesses to and from the place of inquest and for the removalof the dead body.

 

(d) If a coroner determines the injuries which caused theperson's death were received in a county other than that in which the body wasfound, he shall transfer authority for the investigation and inquest to thecoroner for that county.

 

(e) The expense and costs of conducting the investigation orholding the inquest shall be paid by the county in which the injuries werereceived. The accounts of the claimants shall be attested by the coroner oracting coroner, and shall be presented in duplicate to the board of countycommissioners of the proper county. If the board of county commissioners findsthat the inquest was necessary and in accordance with law, and the accounts arecorrect and just, the accounts shall be paid in warrants properly drawn uponthe order of the county commissioners.

 

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,the coroner may inspect medical and psychological data relating to the personwhose death is being investigated if the coroner determines the information isrelevant and necessary to the investigation.

 

7-4-202. Impaneling of bystanders as jurors; oath.

 

If any juror fails to appear, the coronershall immediately summon the proper number from the bystanders and proceed to impanel them. He shall administer the following oath: "You do solemnlyswear (or affirm) that you will diligently inquire and truly present if knownor determinable, the time and date of death, and by what means and manner thedeath of (NAME OF DECEASED) was caused, according to your knowledge and theevidence given you, so help you God."

 

7-4-203. Issuance of subpoenas; witness fees; enforcement ofattendance.

 

The coroner may issue subpoenas and compelthe attendance of witnesses to testify at the inquest. Witnesses shall beallowed the same fees as in cases before a circuit court, and the coroner shallhave the same authority to enforce the attendance of witnesses and to punishfor contempt as provided by W.S. 1-21-901 through 1-21-909.

 

7-4-204. Oath of witness; recording of testimony; compensation ofreporter.

 

An oath shall be administered to each witnessas follows: "You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that the testimony whichyou shall give to this inquest concerning the death of the person about whomthis inquest is being held, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing butthe truth, so help you God." The coroner shall insure that all testimonyin an inquest shall be recorded. The compensation of the court reporter or ofthe person transcribing the audio tape shall be as prescribed by the board ofcounty commissioners. Unless specifically requested by the coroner orprosecuting attorney, audio tapes need not be transcribed.

 

7-4-205. Return of inquisition by jury.

 

After hearing testimony and makingnecessary inquiries, the jurors shall return to the coroner their signedinquisition stating the name of the person and when, how and by what means, ifknown, he came to his death.

 

7-4-206. Coroner's return to court.

 

The coroner shall return to the districtcourt the inquisition, the written evidence and a list of witnesses providingmaterial testimony.

 

7-4-207. Disposition of body and effects of deceased.

 

 

(a) When the coroner investigates the death of a person whosebody is not claimed by a friend or relative within five (5) days of the date ofdiscovery and whose death does not require further investigation, he shall cause the body to be decently buried. The expense of the burial shall be paidfrom any property found with the body. If no property is found, the expense ofthe burial shall be paid by the county in which the investigation occurs.

 

(b) The coroner shall within a reasonable time after completingthe investigation, turn over to the appointed personal representative of theestate of the deceased or, if none, to the clerk of the district court of thecounty, all money or other property found upon the body of the deceased.Personal items valued at less than fifty dollars ($50.00) and items necessaryfor the convenience of the deceased's next of kin may be released to thedeceased's next of kin.

 

7-4-208. Authority of sheriff to perform duties of coroner.

 

Ifthere is no coroner, deputy coroner or in case of their absence, or inabilityto act, the county sheriff of the same county, the state health officerpursuant to W.S. 35-1-241, or the coroner of another county if there is a jointpowers agreement pursuant to W.S. 16-1-102 through 16-1-108 between thecounties authorizing the coroner to so act, is authorized to perform the dutiesof coroner in relation to dead bodies.

 

7-4-209. Postmortem examination; liability limitation.

 

 

(a) When an inquisition is being held, if the coroner or thejury shall deem it requisite, he may summon one (1) or more physicians orsurgeons, to make an autopsy or postmortem examination.

 

(b) If it is necessary to obtain or preserve evidence of thecause of death, the district attorney may order that a qualified physicianperform an autopsy or postmortem examination of the body of any person whoappears to have died by unlawful means, by violence, or when the cause of deathis unknown.

 

(c) No person is subject to civil liability solely because herequested or was involved in the performing of an autopsy that was ordered by acoroner or district attorney.

 

7-4-210. Fees and mileage; salary.

 

(a) The coroner or deputy coroner of each county within thisstate shall receive fees and mileage, if any, as set by the board of countycommissioners.

 

(b) The board of county commissioners shall set the salary ofthe coroner and deputy coroner. A coroner or deputy coroner shall not beprohibited from receiving other fees for their services unrelated to theirofficial duties as coroner or deputy coroner.

 

7-4-211. Board of coroner standards.

 

(a) There is created a board of coroner standards. The boardshall consist of one (1) chairman and six (6) members appointed by and whoshall serve at the pleasure of the governor as follows:

 

(i) One (1) shall be a physician with a specialty in pathologywho is licensed to practice in this state;

 

(ii) Three (3) shall be duly elected coroners in this state;

 

(iii) One (1) shall be a funeral director in this state;

 

(iv) One (1) shall be a duly elected district attorney in thisstate;

 

(v) One (1) shall be a peace officer certified under W.S.9-1-701 through 9-1-707.

 

(b) The members of the board shall be appointed to terms offour (4) years which are concurrent with the terms of the office of coroner.Board members not otherwise compensated for attending board meetings shallreceive travel expenses and per diem in the same manner and amount as stateemployees, and any other reasonable expenses upon board approval. Boardmembers not otherwise compensated shall have their expenses paid from thegeneral fund by appropriation to the office of the attorney general.

 

(c) The board shall:

 

(i) Meet at least biannually and at the call of the chairman orof a majority of the membership;

 

(ii) Promulgate standards dealing with the investigation ofcoroner's cases;

 

(iii) Promulgate educational and training requirements forcoroner basic and continuing education requirements and review thoserequirements annually;

 

(iv) Cooperate with the peace officer standards and trainingcommission in developing basic and continuing education courses for coroners;

 

(v) Promulgate employment standards for deputy coroners and coroneremployees. The standards may include the requirement that deputy coroners andcoroner employees provide to the employing coroner fingerprints and otherinformation necessary for a state and national criminal history recordbackground check and release of information as provided in W.S. 7-19-106(k)(ii)and federal P.L. 92-544 and consent to the release of any criminal historyinformation to the employing coroner.

 

(d) The peace officer standards and training commission shallcooperate with the board of coroner standards in establishing courserequirements and continuing education requirements required by law.

 

(e) The board shall contact the district attorney for thecounty or the attorney general to initiate an action and may serve ascomplaining party in an action under W.S. 7-4-103(b) or 18-3-902 to remove anycoroner who is not in compliance with W.S. 7-4-103.

 


State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title7 > Chapter4

CHAPTER 4 - COUNTY CORONERS

 

ARTICLE 1 - IN GENERAL

 

7-4-101. Election; oath; bond.

 

A coroner shall be elected in each countyfor a term of four (4) years. He shall take the oath prescribed by theconstitution of the state and give bond to the state of Wyoming, in the penalsum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), with sufficient sureties, to beapproved by the board of county commissioners, conditioned that he willfaithfully perform all duties required by law.

 

7-4-102. Deputy coroners.

 

The county coroner may appoint deputycoroners, who shall serve in the absence or inability of the coroner and whoshall receive compensation as the board of county commissioners determines byresolution.

 

7-4-103. Certification requirements; penalty; expenses.

 

(a) After January 5, 1987, no person shall continue in officeas county coroner or deputy coroner unless he has been certified under W.S.9-1-634 as having completed:

 

(i) Not later than one (1) year after assuming office, a basiccoroner course;

 

(ii) Continuing education requirements promulgated by the boardof coroner standards pursuant to W.S. 7-4-211(c)(iii).

 

(b) Any person who knowingly fails to comply with subsection(a) of this section and continues in office is guilty of a misdemeanorpunishable by a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for each day ofnoncompliance.

 

(c) Each coroner or deputy coroner attending approved classesto receive the certification required by subsection (a) of this section shallreceive his present salary or per diem in the same manner and amount as stateemployees, whichever is greater, and shall be reimbursed for his actual traveland other necessary expenses reasonably incurred in obtaining the requiredtraining. The expenses shall be paid by the county in which the coroner ordeputy coroner is serving.

 

(d) After July 1, 2001, no person shall serve as deputy coroneror as an employee of a county coroner who does not meet the employmentstandards adopted by the board of coroner standards pursuant to W.S.7-4-211(c)(v).

 

7-4-104. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this chapter:

 

(i) "Coroner's case" means a case involving a deathwhich was not anticipated and which may involve any of the followingconditions:

 

(A) Violent or criminal action;

 

(B) Apparent suicide;

 

(C) Accident;

 

(D) Apparent drug or chemical overdose or toxicity;

 

(E) The deceased was unattended by a physician or otherlicensed health care provider;

 

(F) Apparent child abuse causes;

 

(G) The deceased was a prisoner, trustee, inmate or patient ofany county or state corrections facility or state hospital, whether or not thedeath is unanticipated;

 

(H) If the cause is unknown or cannot be certified by aphysician;

 

(J) A public health hazard is presented; or

 

(K) The identity of the victim is unknown or the body isunclaimed.

 

(ii) "Coroner's office" means all personnel appointedand elected to the office of coroner, including the county coroner, deputiesand assistants;

 

(iii) "County coroner" means the elected or appointedofficer of the county whose task is to investigate the cause of death in acoroner's case;

 

(iv) "Anticipated death" means the death of anindividual who had been diagnosed by a physician acting within the scope of hislicense as being afflicted with an illness or disease reasonably likely toresult in death, and there is no cause to believe the death occurred for anyreasons other than those associated with the illness or disease;

 

(v) "Unattended" means the deceased had not beenunder the care of a physician or other health care provider acting within thescope of his license within sixty (60) days immediately prior to the date ofdeath.

 

ARTICLE 2 - INQUESTS

 

7-4-201. Reports of death; investigation; summoning of jurors; fees andcosts; inspection of medical records.

 

 

(a) When any person is found dead and the death appears to haveoccurred under circumstances indicating the death is a coroner's case, theperson who discovers the death shall report it immediately to law enforcementauthorities who shall in turn notify the coroner. A person who knowinglyviolates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment fornot more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than seven hundred fiftydollars ($750.00), or both.

 

(b) When the coroner is notified that the dead body of anyperson has been found within the limits of the county or that the deathresulted from injury sustained within the county and he suspects that the deathis a coroner's case, he shall conduct an investigation which may include:

 

(i) An examination of the body and an investigation into themedical history of the case;

 

(ii) The appointment of a qualified physician to assist indetermining the cause of death;

 

(iii) An autopsy if the physician appointed to assist the coronerunder this subsection determines an autopsy is necessary;

 

(iv) An inquest; or

 

(v) Any other reasonable procedure which may be necessary todetermine the cause of death.

 

(c) If the coroner determines to hold an inquest he shallsummon three (3) citizens of the county to appear before him to act as jurorsat the time and place named. The jurors shall receive the same fee paid jurorsin district court as provided in W.S. 1-11-303 and per diem and travel expensesin the same manner as state employees. The coroner may furnish transportationfor the jury and witnesses to and from the place of inquest and for the removalof the dead body.

 

(d) If a coroner determines the injuries which caused theperson's death were received in a county other than that in which the body wasfound, he shall transfer authority for the investigation and inquest to thecoroner for that county.

 

(e) The expense and costs of conducting the investigation orholding the inquest shall be paid by the county in which the injuries werereceived. The accounts of the claimants shall be attested by the coroner oracting coroner, and shall be presented in duplicate to the board of countycommissioners of the proper county. If the board of county commissioners findsthat the inquest was necessary and in accordance with law, and the accounts arecorrect and just, the accounts shall be paid in warrants properly drawn uponthe order of the county commissioners.

 

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,the coroner may inspect medical and psychological data relating to the personwhose death is being investigated if the coroner determines the information isrelevant and necessary to the investigation.

 

7-4-202. Impaneling of bystanders as jurors; oath.

 

If any juror fails to appear, the coronershall immediately summon the proper number from the bystanders and proceed to impanel them. He shall administer the following oath: "You do solemnlyswear (or affirm) that you will diligently inquire and truly present if knownor determinable, the time and date of death, and by what means and manner thedeath of (NAME OF DECEASED) was caused, according to your knowledge and theevidence given you, so help you God."

 

7-4-203. Issuance of subpoenas; witness fees; enforcement ofattendance.

 

The coroner may issue subpoenas and compelthe attendance of witnesses to testify at the inquest. Witnesses shall beallowed the same fees as in cases before a circuit court, and the coroner shallhave the same authority to enforce the attendance of witnesses and to punishfor contempt as provided by W.S. 1-21-901 through 1-21-909.

 

7-4-204. Oath of witness; recording of testimony; compensation ofreporter.

 

An oath shall be administered to each witnessas follows: "You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that the testimony whichyou shall give to this inquest concerning the death of the person about whomthis inquest is being held, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing butthe truth, so help you God." The coroner shall insure that all testimonyin an inquest shall be recorded. The compensation of the court reporter or ofthe person transcribing the audio tape shall be as prescribed by the board ofcounty commissioners. Unless specifically requested by the coroner orprosecuting attorney, audio tapes need not be transcribed.

 

7-4-205. Return of inquisition by jury.

 

After hearing testimony and makingnecessary inquiries, the jurors shall return to the coroner their signedinquisition stating the name of the person and when, how and by what means, ifknown, he came to his death.

 

7-4-206. Coroner's return to court.

 

The coroner shall return to the districtcourt the inquisition, the written evidence and a list of witnesses providingmaterial testimony.

 

7-4-207. Disposition of body and effects of deceased.

 

 

(a) When the coroner investigates the death of a person whosebody is not claimed by a friend or relative within five (5) days of the date ofdiscovery and whose death does not require further investigation, he shall cause the body to be decently buried. The expense of the burial shall be paidfrom any property found with the body. If no property is found, the expense ofthe burial shall be paid by the county in which the investigation occurs.

 

(b) The coroner shall within a reasonable time after completingthe investigation, turn over to the appointed personal representative of theestate of the deceased or, if none, to the clerk of the district court of thecounty, all money or other property found upon the body of the deceased.Personal items valued at less than fifty dollars ($50.00) and items necessaryfor the convenience of the deceased's next of kin may be released to thedeceased's next of kin.

 

7-4-208. Authority of sheriff to perform duties of coroner.

 

Ifthere is no coroner, deputy coroner or in case of their absence, or inabilityto act, the county sheriff of the same county, the state health officerpursuant to W.S. 35-1-241, or the coroner of another county if there is a jointpowers agreement pursuant to W.S. 16-1-102 through 16-1-108 between thecounties authorizing the coroner to so act, is authorized to perform the dutiesof coroner in relation to dead bodies.

 

7-4-209. Postmortem examination; liability limitation.

 

 

(a) When an inquisition is being held, if the coroner or thejury shall deem it requisite, he may summon one (1) or more physicians orsurgeons, to make an autopsy or postmortem examination.

 

(b) If it is necessary to obtain or preserve evidence of thecause of death, the district attorney may order that a qualified physicianperform an autopsy or postmortem examination of the body of any person whoappears to have died by unlawful means, by violence, or when the cause of deathis unknown.

 

(c) No person is subject to civil liability solely because herequested or was involved in the performing of an autopsy that was ordered by acoroner or district attorney.

 

7-4-210. Fees and mileage; salary.

 

(a) The coroner or deputy coroner of each county within thisstate shall receive fees and mileage, if any, as set by the board of countycommissioners.

 

(b) The board of county commissioners shall set the salary ofthe coroner and deputy coroner. A coroner or deputy coroner shall not beprohibited from receiving other fees for their services unrelated to theirofficial duties as coroner or deputy coroner.

 

7-4-211. Board of coroner standards.

 

(a) There is created a board of coroner standards. The boardshall consist of one (1) chairman and six (6) members appointed by and whoshall serve at the pleasure of the governor as follows:

 

(i) One (1) shall be a physician with a specialty in pathologywho is licensed to practice in this state;

 

(ii) Three (3) shall be duly elected coroners in this state;

 

(iii) One (1) shall be a funeral director in this state;

 

(iv) One (1) shall be a duly elected district attorney in thisstate;

 

(v) One (1) shall be a peace officer certified under W.S.9-1-701 through 9-1-707.

 

(b) The members of the board shall be appointed to terms offour (4) years which are concurrent with the terms of the office of coroner.Board members not otherwise compensated for attending board meetings shallreceive travel expenses and per diem in the same manner and amount as stateemployees, and any other reasonable expenses upon board approval. Boardmembers not otherwise compensated shall have their expenses paid from thegeneral fund by appropriation to the office of the attorney general.

 

(c) The board shall:

 

(i) Meet at least biannually and at the call of the chairman orof a majority of the membership;

 

(ii) Promulgate standards dealing with the investigation ofcoroner's cases;

 

(iii) Promulgate educational and training requirements forcoroner basic and continuing education requirements and review thoserequirements annually;

 

(iv) Cooperate with the peace officer standards and trainingcommission in developing basic and continuing education courses for coroners;

 

(v) Promulgate employment standards for deputy coroners and coroneremployees. The standards may include the requirement that deputy coroners andcoroner employees provide to the employing coroner fingerprints and otherinformation necessary for a state and national criminal history recordbackground check and release of information as provided in W.S. 7-19-106(k)(ii)and federal P.L. 92-544 and consent to the release of any criminal historyinformation to the employing coroner.

 

(d) The peace officer standards and training commission shallcooperate with the board of coroner standards in establishing courserequirements and continuing education requirements required by law.

 

(e) The board shall contact the district attorney for thecounty or the attorney general to initiate an action and may serve ascomplaining party in an action under W.S. 7-4-103(b) or 18-3-902 to remove anycoroner who is not in compliance with W.S. 7-4-103.

 

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