County Attorney Bill Knight Resigns
Natrona County Attorney Bill Knight will resign effective Aug. 15 to go into private practice, he said Wednesday
"I've been here six years, it's just time to do something different," Knight said, adding he will practice with another partner.
Wednesday, County Commission Chairman Forrest Chadwick issued a memo saying the commission will formally appoint Deputy County Attorney Heather Duncan-Malone as the county attorney at the commission's next meeting on Aug. 4.
The search for a new deputy county attorney will begin immediately.
Knight grew up in eastern Arkansas, moved to Mississippi, and attended Mississippi State University where he played defensive lineman and defensive end for the Bulldogs. He was approached by several NFL teams, but decided not to turn pro.
He graduated from MSU with a degree in business administration. In 2000, he graduated from the University of Mississippi in Oxford with a law degree and a concentration in real estate.
Land law remains his first legal love.
"Our system is based on the English legal system, and in the English legal system, land was wealth," Knight said. "As long as you have land you're going to have legal issues."
Looking back, he said his greatest accomplishments appeared mundane but were important issues.
"We implemented numerous programs to save the county lots of money, especially with the process involving Title 25 involving involuntary commitments," Knight said. Title 25 resolves situations when a person who is a danger to themselves or others needs to be detained in a mental health facility. His office, which represents the state, worked with hospitals. Other counties use the Wyoming Behavioral Institute to handle their cases, and Natrona County now bills them for those services.
Other accomplishments include new subdivision regulations, and resolving the disputes about the Bridle Trail that starts in Rotary Park.
The trail had developed over 80 years, with the paths evolving fitfully with good-neighbor agreements about respecting the land, minimal maintenance, and a lot of confusion about what trails really are where.
Four years ago, a private landowner threatened to close part of the trail that went through his land because of vandalism. That closure would have effectively shut down most of the trail, even the parts that were on public land.
Knight said his office helped secure easements on private properties to create a complete loop.
Few matters in the county attorney's office attract public attention, but two about code enforcement went to trial.
The biggest of those occurred over several years with Ed Corrigan, who refused to clean up his property east of Casper despite years of citations for dilapidated mobile homes, junk vehicles, and other health and safety hazards. Five years ago, then-Natrona County District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled in the county's favor.
The other major case also involved alleged code violations when the county issued two dozen violations against Dana Jones for his vehicle collection of 600 vehicles at two locations west of Casper. Jones fought back with a lawsuit claiming his collection existed before the zoning regulations. In January 2014, District Court Thomas Sullins ruled Jones could keep the cars.