Jul 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Court rules in favor of alleged sex-trafficking victim accused of homicide

Picture of Chrystul Kizer
Chrystul Kizer. Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that Chrystul Kizer, who is accused of killing a man who allegedly trafficked her, can argue that she is immune from prosecution under state law.

Driving the news: Kizer told detectives that in 2018 she traveled to the home of the man she says trafficked her in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Upon her arrival, she became "tired of [him] touching her" and shot him, according to court documents.

  • Kizer, who said she met the man through a sex-trafficking website, then set his house on fire and drove away in his car. She was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, along with other charges, including arson.

State of play: Kizer's attorneys have been arguing that she cannot be prosecuted due to a Wisconsin law that says that a victim of sex-trafficking "has an affirmative defense for any offense committed in direct result" of being trafficked.

  • A county court judge had previously ruled that was not a valid defense in this case, but an appellate court ruled in 2021 that Kizer could argue that the law protects her from being prosecuted — a decision that the state's Supreme Court has upheld.

What we're watching: Although the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision is not applicable to other states, attorneys outside of Wisconsin could use similar strategies in their cases, AP reports.

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