Hiv Terrorism: 13 Cases Where People Deliberately Infected Others
In November 2015, infamously unstable and legendarily debaucherous actor Charlie Sheen revealed on national TV that hes HIV-positive and has been aware of his status for four years.
Sheen claims hes had unprotected sex with two people since becoming aware of his infection, but he insists its impossible he transmitted the virus to either of them.
The following are cases where people who knew they were HIV-positive infected others either through malice or negligence.
Featurecourt Weighs First Amendment Challenge To Ohio Hiv Assault Law
Sponsors of the bill commended the governors actions.
With the Governors signature today, we are helping to reduce the stigma that keeps some from learning their HIV status and getting into treatment to improve their health, extend their lives, and prevent additional infections, Assembly member Gloria said in a statement. I want to thank Governor Brown for signing SB 239. This action keeps California at the forefront in the fight to stop the spread of HIV.
Many Republicans opposed the bill, saying it fails to protect the health and safety of citizens.
“If you look at compliance to prescription medications in this country, it’s not very good. Roughly three out of four people don’t take the medications the way that their doctors told them they should be taking them,” Sen. Jeff Stone, who is also a pharmacist, said on the Senate floor last month. “If you don’t take your AIDS medications and you allow for some virus to duplicate and show a presence, then you are able to transmit that disease to an unknowing partner.”
LGBTQ advocates landmark. Melissa Goodman, the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project Director with the ACLU of Southern California, praised the fairness of the new legislation, and emphasized that HIV-specific criminal law has disproportionately harmed people of color and transgender women.
Burden Of Proof For Criminal Hiv Exposure
In New Jersey, the prosecution must prove the following elements to convict a person of criminal HIV exposure. These elements are:
- At the time charged in the indictment, the defendant was infected with HIV
- At that time, the defendant knew that they were infected with HIV
- At that time, the defendant committed an act of sexual penetration with another person
- The other person did not provide the defendant with their informed consent
For context, knowing is a state of mind that can only be proved through evaluating the defendants conduct, words, and actions. The prosecution does not have to prove that the defendantsaid they were in a state of mind when they did something. For instance, if the defendant was intoxicated and told the other person that they werereally drunk before engaging in sexual penetration, those words wont necessarily matter in court.
The last element that we want to clarify is informed consent. In New Jersey, informed consent means the persons voluntary and knowing agreement to engage in sexual penetration with a person having HIV. As such, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the other person was not informed that the defendant was infected with HIV.
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The Path To Criminalization
Not only did Rhoades use a condom, but he had an undetectable viral load. Modern antiretroviral therapy prevents the HIV virus from replicating. It often suppresses the virus to levels deemed undetectable.
Iowas law, like many others around the U.S., is based on what the scientific community knew about HIV in the 1990s. At the time, the disease was still thought to be a death sentence and there was little research into its long-term effects.
That was when, as a stipulation for receiving Ryan White funding to provide medical care to people with HIV, the federal government required states to show that they had a way to prosecute people who intentionally transmit the virus.
Sean Strub, director of the SERO Project and founder of POZ Magazine, told Healthline that the requirement has since been repealed.
At the time, some states noted their assault statutes, which enable them to prosecute anyone with intent to harm, he said. Others passed a patchwork of ill-advised and sometimes irrational statutes.
Advocates Cheer Progress In Iowa
Advocates for people with HIV in Iowa cheered Feb. 27 when the state senate unanimously approved a bill to drastically lessen the penalties under Iowas HIV transmission law. The measure also removed a previous requirement that those convicted under the law register as sex offenders.
The new law created a tiered sentencing structure. Only someone acting to intentionally infect another, and successfully doing so, would face a 25-year prison term .
An unsuccessful attempt to infect, or acting with reckless disregard, would be a class D felony. That is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. A person who simply failed to disclose their HIV status could be charged with a misdemeanor.
But a state house committee led by Chip Baltimore, a Republican from Boone, inserted an amendment into the bill that also makes the failure to disclose a class D felony. Regardless of infection, his amendment hands out a class B felony punishment for those with intent to transmit, and a class C for acting with reckless disregard.
It also reinstates the sex offender registration mandate for anyone found guilty, no matter the felony class.
A split screen of the two versions of the bill can be seen here.
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There Are Videos Of Him Possibly Infecting People
Twenty-two-year-old Missouri resident Michael Johnsonwho called himself Tiger Mandino in gay chat roomswas found guilty in May 2015 of infecting one partner and attempting to expose at least four others. Police who searched his college dorm room found 32 videos on his laptop of him having unprotected sex with others.
What Is A Realistic Possibility Of Transmission
Persons living with HIV have a duty to disclose their HIV status before sex that poses a realistic possibility of transmission. This legal test determines when non-disclosure invalidates consent to sexual activity in other words, when the law will deem after the fact that the HIV negative partner did not consent, even though she or he may have consented at the time of sexual activity.
The SCC held that there is no realistic possibility of transmission where the person living with HIV had a low or undetectable viral load at the time the sexual activity took place, and a condom was used . The SCC also acknowledged that advances in medical treatment of HIV may narrow the circumstances where there is a duty to disclose HIV positive status. The most recent medical science on HIV transmission is therefore relevant to determining if there was a realistic possibility of transmitting HIV.
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Can Perpetrators Be Prosecuted For Wilfully Transmitting Hiv
Article written by Blake Liam Hamilton and Wayde Grant Jacobs, Candidate Attorneys, checked and released by Chantelle Gladwin-Wood, Partner at Schindler Attorneys
24 May 2021
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that targets the bodys immune system and, if not treated properly, can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome . Although there is no effective cure for HIV at this time, it can be managed, and people infected may live longer and better lives in the event of good medical treatment being administered. This article discusses the potential criminal liability which may ensue in the context of HIV infections.
Burden of Proof for Criminal Conviction
Snyman describes criminal law as follows:
conduct which is legally forbidden, which may, in principle, be prosecuted only by the state, and which always results in the imposition of punishment.
Criminal law is used as a social tool to urge people to desist from acting in ways that are harmful to societys interests. In South Africa, like in other adversarial judicial systems, the level of proof necessary to support a criminal conviction is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The general elements for criminal liability under the common law are conduct, unlawfulness, causation, criminal capacity and fault. These elements are discussed in detail hereunder.
Public Health Emergency Order Violations
During emergency situations involving a communicable disease outbreak, states have emergency police powers to enforce orders to protect public health and safety. Examples of public health and safety orders include curfews, travel bans, shelter-in-place orders, quarantine orders, and orders to wear masks in public places. In most states, breaking a public health and safety order is a misdemeanor .
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Unintended Effects Of Hiv Laws
These kinds of criminal incidents are rare.
Looking at the cases that are brought under these laws, they really do not resemble in almost every case the kind of scary bogeyman that people have in their minds, Hoppe told Healthline.
He and his colleagues report in the journal that less than 5 percent of convictions under Michigans felony HIV disclosure law involved someone exposing a partner to HIV.
Most of the cases in the state involved sexual exposure without transmission of HIV.
The vast majority of people arrested or convicted 95 percent under the HIV criminalization laws in California between 1988 and 2014 were sex workers, according to research by the University of California Los Angeles School of Laws Williams Institute.
More than two-thirds of those were African American or Latino, although they account for only 51 percent of people living with HIV in the state.
Women made up 43 percent of people who came into contact with the criminal justice system due to their HIV status, although they represent only 13 percent of the HIV-positive population in the state.
The new California law also abolishes the requirement that sex workers get tested for HIV after convictions for prostitution.
The law follows on the heels of a 2015 report by the Obama White House on the countrys HIV/AIDS strategy.
The report said the language and enforcement of HIV laws often run counter to science about how HIV is transmitted.
Case Examples Of Criminal Hiv Exposure
Many people dont realize the true nature of criminal HIV exposure. Believe it or not, countless defendants have been convicted of this crime and suffered serious consequences as a result. The Center for HIV Law and Policy lists severalexamples of cases in which PLHIV were convicted of this offense as well as other crimes such as attempted murder, assault, and weapons crimes. See below:
As you can see, PLHIV have a lot on the line when they participate in sexual activities, among other acts described above. These individuals face harsher charges and subsequent penalties for doing things that non-infected people otherwise wouldnt get in the same trouble for, and these disparities tend to have significant costs for PLHIV.
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A Dozen Men Injected With Hiv
In 2008, three HIV-positive Dutch men were convicted of grievous bodily harm by a Netherlands court for purposely infecting a dozen men at gay sex parties over the course of two years by drugging them on GHB and Ecstasy, then injecting them with a cocktail containing the infected blood of all three men. Their sentences ranged from nine years to 18 months.
” Deliberate Transmission Of Hiv ” : The Law In Terms Of Section 79 Of The Criminal Law Codification And Reform Act
DELIBERATE TRANSMISSION OF HIV: THE LAW IN TERMS OF SECTION 79 OF THE CRIMINAL LAW CODIFICATION AND REFORM ACT
This article is meant to explain the current position of the law on deliberate transmission of HIV. The 2017 UNAIDS data statistics report it was stated that 1.3 million people are living with HIV/AIDs, 13.5% adult prevalence, 40 000 HIV new infections, 30 000 AIDs related deaths and 74% of adults are on antiretroviral treatment. Aware of such prevalence it is thus important to discuss the crime of Deliberate transmission of HIV.In terms of the Criminal Law Act section 79 Deliberate transmission of HIV is an offence. The Act states that, any person who Knowing that he or she is infected with HIV or realizing that there is a real risk or possibility that he or she is infected with HIV intentionally does anything or permits the doing of anything which he or she knows will infect, or does anything which he or she realises involves a real risk or possibility of infecting another person with HIV, shall be guilty of deliberate transmission of HIV, whether or not he or she is married to that other person, and shall be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding twenty years.
If the court assumes one knew of their status and infected the other, the law gives a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment.
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How Can I Avoid Being Prosecuted For Hiv Transmission
The simplest way of avoiding prosecution is to make sure that your partner knows you have HIV, and that whatever sex you have is consensual within this knowledge.
If you dont feel able to tell them about your diagnosis, you should use a condom when having sex to avoid passing HIV on.
Its also important to follow your doctors advice on treatment and try to reduce your viral load to undetectable levels, to minimise the chance of accidental transmission.
If you find it difficult to use a condom, or difficult to insist that your sexual partner uses a condom, help and advice are available from your HIV clinic, Terrence Higgins Trust or another local HIV support organisation.
Sometimes, despite this, accusations get made. If that happens, contact THT Direct and get specialist advice.
When Is Someone Found Guilty Of Reckless Hiv Transmission
In England and Wales, you may be found guilty of reckless HIV transmission if all of the below apply:
- You had sex with someone who didnt know you had HIV.
- You knew you had HIV at that time.
- You understood how HIV is transmitted.
- You had sex without a condom.
- You transmitted HIV to that person.
In Scotland, the law is more strict. You can also be prosecuted for putting someone at risk without their prior knowledge or consent, even if transmission did not take place.
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Hiv And Moral Obligations
It seems uncontentious to assert that individuals have a general moral obligation to avoid harming or wronging others whenever possible. This is a general obligation and not one restricted to the transmission of HIV. What needs to be examined is the question of whether this general obligation not to harm or wrong others implies specific obligations with regard to possible HIV transmission. What is not clear in the case of HIV transmission is whether the obligation to prevent transmission falls solely on the shoulders of those who are already infected, or whether it is down to everyone to do their best to protect themselves against transmission.
Criminal Liability If The Victim Knows The Hiv Status Of The Offender
We have suggested that if criminalisation of HIV transmission is to be seriously considered, its applicability should be restricted to cases where reckless or deliberate transmission has occurred. Criminalising cases where forewarning occurs is not advocated. While we may disagree with Erin and Harris’s assertion that by forewarning an HIV-positive individual has fulfilled his/her moral obligations regarding HIV to his/her partner, the complexity of the moral obligations involve mean that criminalising his/her behaviour will not always be appropriate and thus should be avoided. However, this needs to be clarified with regard to existing legislation. It is as important for unhelpful legislation to be repealed as it is for appropriate legislation to be introduced. At present even if disclosure takes place before the parties have penetrative sex, if the partner of an HIV-positive person becomes infected as a result, a criminal offence may have been committed. English law does not allow a person to consent to the infliction on him/herself of any harm, however grave. The Law Commission in recent recommendations supports this approach. It recommends that a person should not be able to consent to the infliction of a seriously disabling injury and that both perpetrator and victim of such an injury would be guilty of a criminal offence.
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California Man Accused Of Intentionally Spreading Hiv
SAN DIEGO, Calif.–A San Diego man is accused of intentionally infecting spreading HIV, and dozens of men say they were his victims, reports CBS News 8.
Thomas Guerra, 29, has been charged by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office with one count of willfully exposing himself, as an infectious individual, to another person, but prosecutors say more charges may be added if more victims come forward.
The individual charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months and a $1,000 fine.
One man who spoke to CBS News 8 says he’s come forward to warn others about the alleged actions of his ex, who also goes by the name Ashton Chavez.
“There’s people that are being hurt, and people that still could be hurt. His behavior needs to stop,” the man said.
He says he and Guerra dated for a year before he discovered shocking text messages on Guerra’s cell phone.
“There’s hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of text messages where he’s talking about intentionally infecting people with HIV,” he said. “Texts where he’s stating he’s negative to people then bragging to others about giving people his ‘positive load.’ It’s crude, it’s… I don’t know how someone could treat another individual like that.”
“I was hours away from proposing to this individual. This is someone that I loved, I’ve loved his family, I’ve spent multiple holidays with his family, he’s been home with me to my family. This is someone that I intended to spend the rest of my life with,” he said.