Code & Law Enforcement
Vehicle Titles & Licensing
Ronald J. Sargent
The Coroner's Role in Society and Medicine
Death is a social and legal event, as well as a biological event, and as in many other social and legal events, there are judgments or rulings to be made and certain formalities to be attended to. The Coroner serves the living, and is the advocate for the dead.
The office in our culture dates back to old English law. When a person died, the Crown would confiscate his estate. The Crown agent was known as the "Crowner." Eventually the position changed from confiscating the estate to investigation of the death "in the public interest."
The Coroner operates at the interface between law and medicine. By statue, the Coroner is a Law Enforcement Office and this is the role the public usually sees. Homicides and death related to criminal activities tend to attract the most attention.
In Wyoming, the Coroner investigates deaths due to the following reasons:
In addition, due to Insurance benefits to survivors, (or loss of benefits in some cases), some hospital deaths are also investigated for possible therapeutic misadventure deaths. Hazards to the public are also important.
The Coroner is responsible to notify the next of kin of a death.
Coroner Records Requests
A Verdict and Case Docket is a public document, and can be released by the Coroner's Office upon proper request by families, investigative agencies, legal, law enforcement, summary reports and legal notices.
Public Information Dockets are prepared with the information as specified in WS §7–4–105(a), and are produced for release after a case investigation has been completed, and/or the case has been adjudicated. Case completion is subject to the policies, procedures, rules and regulations established by the Laramie County Coroner's Office, Wyoming Board of Coroner's Standards, and additional applicable Wyoming State Statutes.
Secondary release of third–party medical records or investigative information obtained by the Coroner's Office is prohibited by Federal Law. Also, per WS §7–4–105(m) "A person who knowingly or purposely uses the information in a manner other than the specified purpose for which it was released or violates a court order issued under subsection (g) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or both."
All requests for information submitted prior to the completion of the investigation will be documented as to the date received and will be held and processed upon completion of the case. Completion times are variable, and depend on the nature of the case.