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Crain v. State

October 22, 2009

MONIQUE JOY CRAIN, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).
MICHAEL MAY, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeals from the District Courts of: Campbell County and Teton County The Honorable Dan R. Price II, Judge The Honorable Nancy J. Guthrie, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hill, Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] The Appellants in these consolidated cases challenge their convictions for sexual abuse of a minor under the comprehensive 2007 amendments to Wyoming‟s sexual assault statutes. Although each Appellant articulated the issues in slightly different terms, we deem the following to capture the essence of their claims: (1) Where those amended statutes criminalize sexual abuse of a minor "on a victim who is thirteen (13) through fifteen (15) years of age," does that descriptive phrase include victims who are one day or more past his/her 15th birthday; and, (2) is that descriptive phrase unconstitutionally vague as applied to each of these Appellants‟ cases? We hold that the statutes at issue are not ambiguous and do not require this Court to construe them beyond their plain language. In addition, we conclude that the statutes are not unconstitutionally vague as applied to these two Appellants.*fn1

[¶2] In Case No. S-08-0215, Monique Joy Crain v. State of Wyoming, Crain entered a conditional plea of guilty to violating Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-315(a)(i) (LexisNexis 2009) which provides:

§ 6-2-315. Sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree; penalties.

(a) Except under circumstance constituting sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree as defined by W.S. 6-2-314, an actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree if:

(i) Being seventeen (17) years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion*fn2 on a victim who is thirteen (13) through fifteen (15) years of age, and the victim is at least four (4) years younger than the actor;

(ii) Being sixteen (16) years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact of a victim who is less than thirteen (13) years of age;

(iii) Being eighteen (18) years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is less than eighteen (18) years of age and the actor is the victim's legal guardian or an individual specified in W.S. 6-4-402; or

(iv) Being eighteen (18) years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is less than sixteen (16) years of age and the actor occupies a position of authority in relation to the victim.

(b) A person convicted under subsection (a) of this section is subject to imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years, unless the person convicted qualifies under W.S. 6-2-306(e).*fn3 [Emphasis added.]

[¶3] In order to fully comprehend the above statute in context, we must also briefly consult Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-2-314, 6-2-316, and 6-2-317 (LexisNexis 2009):

§ 6-2-314. Sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree; penalties.

(a) An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree if:

(i) Being sixteen (16) years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than thirteen (13) years of age;

(ii) Being eighteen (18) years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the actor is the victim's legal guardian or an individual specified in W. S. 6-4-402;

(iii) Being eighteen (18) years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than sixteen (16) years of age and the actor occupies a position of authority in relation to the victim.

(b) A person convicted under subsection (a) of this section is subject to imprisonment for not more than fifty (50) years, unless the person convicted qualifies under W.S. 6-2-306(e).

§ 6-2-316. Sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree.

(a) Except under circumstance constituting sexual abuse of a minor in the first or second degree as defined by W.S. 6-2-314 and 6-2-315, an actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree if:

(i) Being seventeen (17) years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is thirteen (13) through fifteen (15) years of age, and the victim is at ...


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