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June 8, 2012

N.Y. Appeals Court Rules Saliva With HIV Not a Deadly Weapon

The New York Court of Appeals has found that the saliva of David Plunkett, who has HIV and who bit a police officer, doesn’t constitute a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument under state law, according to The Associated Press. Plunkett is serving a 10-year sentence at Sing Sing after pleading guilty to assault as well as aggravated assault on an officer after punching him and biting his finger in 2006 at a medical clinic in the Mohawk Valley Village. The high court unanimously said saliva should be treated the same as teeth, which it concluded in 1999 doesn’t qualify as dangerous instruments because body parts come with the defendant and cannot heighten their criminal liability beyond the victim’s injury. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund told the court in support of Plunkett that people with HIV shouldn’t face extra criminal sanctions or enhanced penalties because of their status. The court also sent the case back to a lower court for resentencing.

To read the AP article, click here.

Search: New York, Court of Appeals, David Plunkett, Sing Sing, Mohawk Valley, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Criminalization

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  comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

Stacey D, Mountain Grove, 2012-06-19 01:19:43
I am HIV+ and have be shown that it would take 10 gallons of saliva to come ant where near close to getting HIV from it. I think that because people have forgotten that there is an issue with HIV/AIDS that when anything comes up in the news about it it is like the first time they are hearing about it. And i mean that with all my heart, Our schools are not letting agencies in to teach our children about safe sex.

ks, West Coast, 2012-06-09 16:18:27
I hope this opens the door to changing the manner of prosecution for HIV related crimes to match with scientific data and uses the law correctly rather than being a discrimintory punishment against the HIV "boogeyman". Now to see laws and prosecution that uphold personal choice and responsibility, which are reflective of protecting the freedoms we Americans have our legal system intended for.

Jeton Ademaj, Harlem, NYC, 2012-06-08 20:49:18
well now! like i said here last month, this could (and did) turn out to be a good thing!

it's odd how few people understand the legal process...if there's a wrong-headed decision being appealed, and the appeal is accepted, that means that there's a decent chance the bad decision will be overturned.

comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

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