Bill No.: HB0297 Drafter: JHR

 

LSO No.: 09LSO-0615 Effective Date: 7/1/2009

 

Enrolled Act No.: HEA0075

 

Chapter No.: 124

 

Prime Sponsor: Representative Lubnau

 

Catch Title: Simple assault.

 

Subject: Amends the elements of the crime of simple battery to address the decision in a federal case.

 

Summary/Major Elements:

         Under current law, "[a] person is guilty of battery if he unlawfully touches another in a rude, insolent or angry manner or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another". A U.S. Court of Appeals, in U.S. v. Hayes, 526 F.3d 674 (10th Cir. 2008), held that the Wyoming statute, W.S. 6-2-501(b), does not meet the definition of "misdemeanor crime of domestic assault" because it does not necessarily include the use or attempted use of physical force.

         This bill:

o        Amends the language of W.S. 6-2-501(b) by deleting the "touches another in a rude, insolent or angry manner" language and inserts a requirement that the bodily injury was caused by use of physical force;

o        Creates a crime of "unlawful contact" if the actor touches another in a rude, insolent or angry manner without intentionally using sufficient physical force to cause bodily injury to another, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.

o        Specifies the penalty for an "unlawful contact" is the standard misdemeanor penalty (not more than 6 months imprisonment or a fine of not more than $750.00);

o        Authorizes a peace officer to arrest a person suspected of violating the new offense as specified;

o        Specifies that the legislative intent of the bill is to address the federal case that found fault with the Wyoming law.

 

Comment:

         This bill attempts to clarify Wyoming law to allow the offense of simple battery to meet the federal definition of "misdemeanor crime of domestic assault" for purposes of restricting firearm rights, while creating a lesser offense of unlawful touching to avoid loss of such rights.