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King v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

October 26, 2017

JUSTIN TANNER KING, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

         Appeal from the District Court of Fremont County The Honorable Norman E. Young, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Office of the Public Defender: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Peter F. Howard, Assistant Attorney General.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          KAUTZ, Justice.

         [¶1] A jury convicted Justin Tanner King of felonious restraint, strangulation of a household member, and domestic battery. Mr. King's first trial resulted in a mistrial at his request after the district court determined that the prosecutor asked Mr. King improper questions during cross-examination. Before the second trial began, Mr. King requested that the case against him be dismissed based on the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against double jeopardy. The district court denied Mr. King's motion and Mr. King appeals that decision. We affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] The issue in this case is whether the district court erred in denying Mr. King's motion to dismiss after it granted Mr. King's motion for a mistrial.

         FACTS

         [¶3] On March 14, 2015, the Fremont County Sheriff's Office received a report from Patricia Barrett that her ex-boyfriend, Mr. King, had assaulted her earlier that evening. Ms. Barrett reported that Mr. King became angry when he learned Ms. Barrett had been in a new relationship after she and Mr. King had separated. Ms. Barrett stated that Mr. King held a knife to her throat, struck her in the face with his fists, and choked her multiple times. He also dragged her through the home by her hair, and eventually forced her into her car and drove the two of them from Riverton, Wyoming, to nearby Lander, Wyoming, all the while threatening to kill her and her children. The victim reported she escaped when Mr. King left her alone in the car while he went inside his friend's home in Lander. Ms. Barrett also reported that Mr. King had stolen cash that was in her purse. Based upon this report, the Fremont County Attorney charged Mr. King with one count each of felonious restraint, strangulation of a household member, aggravated assault and battery, domestic battery, and theft.

         [¶4] The case proceeded to a jury trial. On the third day of trial, the following exchange occurred during the State's cross-examination of Mr. King:

[Prosecutor]. Mr. King, you have denied ever laying a hand on Ms. Barrett or harming her in any way?
[Mr. King]. That's correct, sir.
Q. Do you remember when you first got down here and Detective Jason ...

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