Defender Aid Clinic Scores One for the Fourth

Man smiling
Luke Dainty

A Cheyenne man was taken in handcuffs from his doorway February 13, 2020, by police who showed up without an arrest warrant. The Wyoming Supreme Court last month upheld the man’s Fourth Amendment rights and reversed the conviction that resulted from the middle-of-the-night arrest.

Perhaps as significant, Myron Martize Woods might not have achieved this outcome had it not been for a team of University of Wyoming law students. Luke Dainty, a third-year law student and the student director of the UW College of Law Defender Aid Clinic, represented Woods in arguments before the Wyoming Supreme Court. He and others put hundreds of hours into the case, preparing the appeal under the guidance of Faculty Director Lauren McLane.   

Says McLane, “I am so proud of Luke, who from the outset of this case treated our client and what happened to him in the criminal legal system with dignity and humanity. That is a win in and of itself, because what is most lacking in our system is dignity and humanity.” 

Dainty credits McLane for walking clinic students through the legal framework and for the grit and practicality he says characterize the clinical approach. The College of Law legal clinics represent income-qualified clients free of charge. “It’s pretty astounding to be able to get this kind of experience,” says Dainty, who drafted and submitted the court brief in December 2022.

Reporter Sofia Saric wrote about the case in the April 17 Casper Star-Tribune.

“The clinic is energized by the opinion,” says McLane. “And we hope it serves as a reminder to law enforcement and civilians that the Fourth Amendment cannot be so easily discarded by arbitrary, unfettered police discretion, particularly at the great threshold of our homes.”

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