The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to review the case of Chrystul Kizer, a teenage sex trafficking victim who is charged with killing her abuser, marking the next step in a years-long legal battle that could have national repercussions on the way that trafficking victims involved with serious crimes are treated, reports the Washington Post. At the heart of the debate is whether Kizer, now 21, should have access to a law known as the affirmative defense.
An appeals court ruled that Kizer should indeed have the chance to present evidence that her crime was a “direct result” of the trafficking she experienced. If a judge, and then a jury, ruled in her favor, Kizer could then be acquitted of some or all the charges against her in the death of Randall Phillip Volar III. Prosecutors appealed the ruling, arguing that the affirmative defense law was never intended to provide a complete defense to someone accused of committing a homicide. Kizer is considered a trafficking victim because she was too young to consent to being sold for sex. She was 16 when Volar, 34, began filming his sexual abuse of her, allegedly in exchange for cash, food and gifts. Kizer said she was trying to defend herself because she did not want to comply with Volar’s demands for sex. Prosecutors say the evidence shows the killing was premeditated, and that Kizer continued contact with Volar after the 34-year-old tried to end their arrangement.