Minnesota Supreme Court Overturns Conviction Of Man Accused Of Spreading HIV
The Minnesota Supreme Court shot down a prosecutor's effort to reinstate the overturned conviction of Daniel James Rick, an HIV-positive man who was accused of passing the disease to someone else.
The high court affirmed a Court of Appeals decision that reversed the attempted first-degree assault conviction of Daniel
A jury acquitted Rick in 2011 under the first part of a Minnesota statute that applies to cases involving sex without first informing the other person that the defendant has a communicable disease. But it convicted him under another section that the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday applies only "to the donation or exchange for value of blood, sperm, organs, or tissue and therefore does not
Although D.B. testified that Rick did not tell him he was HIV positive before they started having sex, the jury agreed with Rick's claim that he did. It was never conclusively determined whether it was Rick or someone else who infected D.B.
The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota welcomed the ruling.
"The court saw the problem with the way in which the state was prosecuting this case and recognized it was inappropriate to prosecute this man for this conduct," said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project director for Lambda Legal. "And I think the victory shows that there's a problem with these laws, and that people with HIV are going to be targeted for prosecutions like this until we reform the laws. Essentially, what the state was going was prosecuting someone for the fact he was HIV positive and had sex without a condom."
What do you think of the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision, Instincters? Was Rick's conviction rightfully overturned?
Check out this piece from Instinct contributor Tyler Curry, "HIV Victims and Villains: Who Is Really At Fault?" for related discussion on the topic!