WISCONSIN: Hmong’s Cultural Marriage no Defense to Sexual Assault on Minor

Failure of Attorney to Raise Existence of Cultural Marriage No Basis to Reverse Criminal Conviction

State v. Mong Lor Wisconsin (March 4, 2009): https://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=35693

Mong Lor was convicted for the crime of sexual assault on a child under sixteen.  Post conviction, Lor brought a motion for post-conviction relief arguing that his trial counsel should have argued a cultural marriage defense.  He claimed that the minor, 14, was married to him by the elders of the Hmong families, but the marriage was not registered under the law of the State of Wisconsin.  The victim, according to Lor, brought the charge of sexual assault of a child after the marriage fell apart. The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District II, found that Wisconsin did not recognize a cultural marriage defense and thereby Lor cannot seek relief due to the  ineffective assistance of counsel.

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