The Wyoming State Legislature in the 2011 Session passed House Bill #0042, Coroner record confidentiality as Enrolled Act 0087. This adds a large section to the Coroner Statutes and deals with exactly what in an investigation file is considered public record, as of July 1st, 2011. The updated coroner statutes with the new text added can be accessed by clicking on the PDF link as follows: WYStatutes2011
In 2009 Governor Freudenthal signed the amendments and changes to the Coroner Board of Standards Rules. Along with other changes, Coroner Standards for Investigations are now a part of regulation. The standards are as listed below, and for other changes, see the POST website
Standards Dealing with the Investigation of Coroner’s Cases
Section 1. Definitions. W.S. 7-4-104 is appended to these standards as Appendix A and adopted and incorporated herein.
Section 2. Conduct. Coroners shall act in accordance with all relevant state and federal law. In addition, in dealing with the deceased, the family of the deceased, and the general public, the Coroners shall conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the highest standards of professionalism, compassion, and respect.
Section 3. General.
(a) The Coroner shall work jointly with all law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction in a death scene investigation.
(b) The Coroner has jurisdiction over and shall take custody of the body.
(c) The Coroner shall assume responsibility for the property of the deceased.
(d) Evidence is the responsibility of law enforcement and/or the Coroner.
(e) The Coroner shall protect the chain of custody for any evidence in their custody.
(f) The Coroner shall provide for transportation, security, and preservation of the deceased until released to the next of kin or their designee.
(g) The Coroner shall pronounce death, and record the date, time, and location.
(h) The Coroner shall provide for the notification of next of kin.
(i) The Coroner shall provide the office staff and investigators:
(i) Safe and adequate equipment to perform any duties of the office; and
(ii) Adequate and appropriate safety and personal protective equipment suitable for the circumstances of the investigation.
Section 4. Investigations.
(a) The Coroner shall identify the deceased and determine the Manner and Cause of death as accurately as possible.
(b) In determining the Manner and Cause of death, the investigation shall include:
(i) Scene Investigation;
(ii) Toxicology sample on the deceased;
(iii) Inventory of property, evidence, and medications;
(v) External Exam; and
(vi) DNA sample.
(c) The Coroner shall issue a written report for all death investigations. The written reports may include but are not limited to, data from measuring devices, diagrams, evidence and body labeling, interviews, psychological and social histories, medical histories and consultation with physicians, autopsy, fingerprints, radiology, odontology, or DNA profiles or any other method necessary to determine the cause and manner of death.
(d) Investigations requiring a forensic autopsy of the deceased shall be conducted by a Forensic Pathologist who has been certified in that specialty by a nationally recognized certification board.
(e) All investigations will be completed in a reasonable time. The term ‘reasonable time’ is defined as that time period necessary to complete and collect data and information from toxicology, autopsy, or other investigation procedures, to determine with medical certainty a manner and cause of death.
Section 5. Records. The Coroner shall maintain all public records in accordance with W.S. 9-2-405 through 9-2-413.