Friday, June 4, 2021

Court of Appeals rules for sex-trafficking victim charged with killing her abuser

From JSOnline:
Bruce Vielmetti
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Milwaukee child sex trafficking victim can raise a special defense as a trafficking victim against charges that she murdered her trafficker in Kenosha three years ago.

Chrystul Kizer, 20, was 17 when she killed 34-year-old Randall P. Volar III. 

Prosecutors say she went to Volar's home on June 5, 2018, shot him in the head, set a fire in his home and stole his car, computer and cash. They say it was a premeditated crime to steal Volar's BMW.

Kizer's lawyers argued she had snapped after years of abuse by Volar.

A Wisconsin law adopted in 2008 provides an affirmative defense for victims of human and child sex trafficking to “any offense committed as a direct result" of those crimes, even if no one was ever prosecuted for the trafficking.

Many states have similar laws, but they have never been used against homicide charges before.

A defendant has the burden of proving an affirmative defense, but if it is proven, it defeats charges even if prosecutors prove all the elements of the crime, for example, self-defense against a homicide charge.

A judge in Kenosha County concluded in late 2019 that the defense was meant only to protect sex trafficking victims from being charged with prostitution or other crimes related to sex trafficking or human trafficking of workers — like taking someone's passport, or threatening them, or making someone else commit a crime — that they might be forced to commit as part being trafficked themselves

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