Court of Appeals rules for sex-trafficking victim charged with killing abuser | #tinder | #pof | #match | #sextrafficking


_________________________


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.

Kizer’s charges of homicide, arson, theft and other offenses were not direct results of being the victim of child sex trafficking, the judge decided.

Kizer appealed. Her case was written about in the Washington Post, and national victims’ rights groups submitted appellate briefs in the case.

Judge Mark Gundrum wrote the opinion, joined by judged Paul Reilly and Jeffrey Davis.

In the 18-page ruling, Gundrum commits several pages to an examination of the legal meanings of “direct result,” and concludes that various dictionaries and prior cases offer guidance.

He said in deciding if Kizer’s acts were a direct result of being sex trafficked by Volar, a judge might consider “whether the victim’s offense arises relatively immediately from the trafficking violation of which the victim is a victim, is motivated primarily by the trafficking violation, is a logical and reasonably foreseeable consequence of that violation, and is not in significant part caused by events, circumstances or considerations other than that violation.”

If Kizer successfully raises the affirmative defense that her actions were the direct result of being Volar’s sex trafficking victim, it would operate as a complete defense, the decision says, not just a mitigation of first-degree intentional homicide down to second-degree intentional homicide, as prosecutors argued.

Gundrum noted that both prosecutors and the defense agree that the record is not developed enough yet to have allowed the Court of Appeals to rule on the applicability of the defense in Kizer’s case.

Volar had been arrested in February 2018 on child sexual assault charges, but then released. Later police learned he had filmed himself sexually assaulting Kizer, and that he’d been abusing a dozen other Black girls under 18.

But he had not been rearrested or charged by the night Kizer came to his house.

Kizer’s case is set for a status hearing June 25.

Contact Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187 or bvielmetti@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.





Source link

————————————————————–

Source link

.  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .


_________________________