April 14, 2010
New York State Might Block Release of HIV-Positive Prisoner
New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office intends to block the release of Nushawn J. Williams, an HIV-positive Brooklyn man who pleaded guilty in 1997 to charges of statutory rape and two counts of reckless endangerment for transmitting the virus to two girls, though he was associated with about 13 women who tested positive at that time, The New York Times reports.
Williams—who was featured in the August 2000 issue of POZ—was scheduled for release on April 12 after serving his maximum sentence of 12 years, but Cuomo’s office is moving to keep him in custody under a 3-year-old state law that permits civil confinement of sex offenders.
“Under law, he remains confined as the court process moves forward,” said John Milgrim, a spokesman for Cuomo’s office.
According to the article, a civil jury trial will decide whether Williams has a mental health condition that would require confinement at a psychiatric facility or release under supervision. He could also enter into an agreement with the state, which would be similar to a plea agreement in a criminal case.
The Times notes that Williams’s widely publicized case led to the passage of a New York law requiring doctors and laboratories to report to the state the names of those who test HIV positive. That information is shared with local health officials who interview the individuals and ask them to name their sexual partners and warn them that they might have been at risk.
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