Ken’s Comments:

 

This seems fair to me. That is the test of all laws, judicial decisions, etc., is it not? “Is is fair?”

 

Excerpts from the Article:

 

In a case of first impression before the Supreme Court of Wyoming, the Court held that a cohabitant who attacks another cohabitant in their shared home may raise the “castle doctrine” in a self-defense argument, defending her use of force to protect herself from the other cohabitant.

When Misty Widdison was staying with her uncle in 2016, they got into an argument, and Widdison stabbed her uncle in the leg and neck. After a jury trial, she was convicted and sentenced to prison for attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault. In her appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court, she argued that the district court improperly refused to instruct the jury about the “castle doctrine” of self-defense in her use of force to defend herself.

The castle doctrine provides that a person may “stand his ground and kill his assailant if he is assaulted, without fault, in his own home.” Drennen v. State, 311 P.3d 116 (Wyo. 2013). Known by various names, the castle doctrine is not new; a majority of the states have such a rule allowing people to “stand their ground” when being attacked in their home.

Thus, the Court announced that the castle doctrine applies to a cohabitant, writing: “a cohabitant does not have a duty to retreat in his own home when, through no fault of his own, he is assailed by another cohabitant.”

In Widdison’s case, the jury never heard whether she had the right to defend herself under the castle doctrine because the district court determined that Widdison did not reside with her uncle, but was merely a visitor.

Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case for retrial consistent with this opinion. If the jury finds that she was a cohabitant, then she is entitled to a jury instruction on the castle doctrine. See: Widdison v. State, 410 P.3d 1205 (Wyo. 2018).

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