July 17, 2015

He Gets 30.5 yrs for non disclosure}} As a result some will not test but will transmit by saying “Im clean’{{



                                                                            
 Michael Johnson sentenced to 30.5 yrs.


In 2015 some states are still at 1985 as it comes to HIV. It’s hard to believe that this judge will not be knowledgeable about the risks in having unprotected sex and keeping safe and what is the real reason this once promising life is being destroyed and thrown away.  If the judge and District Attorney where looking for a severe sentence, harsher than if he had committed murder they certainly chose the unbalanced non justice choice.

The reason I use the ’no justice word’ is because you can’t have justice when you destroy a life for not disclosing his HIV status. If he would have had any other disease that was not transmitted non sexually but through touching or just close contact  i.e.: Ebola;  He would not been prosecuted at all. 

I have heard of no prosecutions from the Ebola epidemic even when cases were brought to the U.S.
The point Im making is because this case has to do with sex and HIV being a decease connected with a certain community, getting a scape goat to make everyone clean from HIV (like if that was possible!) they destroy a life by giving him a sentence that makes no sense in view of the crime committed. 

Cases of miscarriage of justice affect us all, more so than HIV. We all have a responsibility to take care of our bodies and take not extraordinary protections but everyday very known and familiar protections when having sex with someone other than your monogamous partner. With the exception of rape, everyone involved made a choice. If he is convicted of any crime but murder, over 30 years is going way overboard. This young guy had everything stocked against him in the criminal system of his state. First he is black, yes black because being white helps you in not getting prosecuted for the same offense and if convicted with some exceptions, is not going to be life. Then he was carrying a disease that in everyday life people accommodate in their life’s because they have learn how is transmitted and more importantly how one can protect one self against it. A disease connected with gays, loose moral values and intravenous drug users. 30 years the judge and prosecuted most’ve thought, who is going to miss him? Im sure if you met the judge he would tell you he was protecting society. Then ask him why he has given 25 years for murder? How miss carriage of justice protects society?

Even if we concede, which we don’t that this sentenced young man got up one day and said Im going to infect some people, one need to take the circumstances into sentencing. Was it a rape?(was not), was this a habitual offender? He had sex with six guys in six months, what are the result of his actions as it applies to the victims? Did they acquire the disease, did they already were positive? Were they also promiscuous? This are just a few samples some of the questions which I don’t know because that would only be on the trial transcripts but it illustrates that a case is not as simple as who shot the victim? What you know is that he did not play ball by  pleading out, he went to trial, so the judge throws the book at him? 30 years is not throwing the book at him but beating him with it to death.

I don’t like guys that go around without being tested so they can plead that they didn’t know they were positive thus avoiding prosecution. The guy in question here knew. That blood test made him a felon trying to commit murder. A blood test instituted for people to know and get meds which if done correctly will make the HIV’er chances of transmitting very, very low (95-99.9%, if undetectable for more than a few months). With cases like this, besides ruining a promising young life of this college kid, it makes others be discourage to know their status based on legal reasoning. Sending this guy with a harsh sentence is not going to deter someone like him to not have sex but what it will make   many guys not want to know their status and thus transmitting the disease to many. They will transmit the disease and not get help which will help them become less likely to transmit and less likely that they will progress and their  HIV will become AIDS.


                                                                              -*-
Members of the medical and legal community joined HIV activists in expressing outrage at the 30½ year sentence imposed on a Black Missour

Members of the medical and legal community joined HIV activists in expressing outrage at the 30½ year sentence imposed on a Black Missouri college student and star wrestler following his conviction under the state law that makes it a felony for people diagnosed with HIV to have sexual contact without documenting they disclosed their HIV status.  Members of the medical and legal community joined HIV activists in expressing outrage at the 30½ year sentence imposed on a Black Missouri college student and star wrestler following his conviction under the state law that makes it a felony for people diagnosed with HIV to have sexual contact without documenting they disclosed their HIV status.  

The student, Michael Johnson, faced complaints lodged by six men who claimed that they had sex with Mr. Johnson and did not know he had HIV. The sentence imposed on Mr. Johnson is equivalent to that issued in a serious homicide case.

St. Charles County Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham, who sentenced Mr. Johnson yesterday, told him he had committed "very severe" crimes. Mr. Johnson was given 30 years on the felony conviction of recklessly transmitting HIV without disclosure, and a total of 30½ years on the four lesser convictions of recklessly exposing another to HIV without disclosure. The judge ordered that the sentences run concurrently, for an effective prison sentence of 30½ years. 

·       MICHAEL JOHNSON’S IMPRISONMENT WILL NOT SLOW THE SPREAD OF HIV.

Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum, a nationally-recognized adolescent HIV expert, and founder and director of the Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT), a treatment and prevention center for adolescents and young adults, expressed sadness and concern at the outcome of Mr. Johnson’s case. Dr. Birnbaum stressed, “HIV criminal laws have no positive impact on the spread of HIV.  Sentencing people living with HIV to prison for having sex will, based on decades of HIV clinical experience, only drive people away from health centers where they can learn their HIV status and get the medical care they need.”

·       IMPRISONMENT POINTLESSLY DEVASTATES A PROMISING YOUNG MAN’S LIFE.

Kimber Mallet, a former professor of Michael’s, states: “Michael was a kind, hard-working student who overcame a learning disability to enter college and become a promising athlete. His sentence is tragic and likely will cost him his future, with no benefit to Missouri taxpayers who pay for this severe form of punishment. I am hopeful that the appeal of his sentence will produce a more just outcome."

·       MISSOURI’S HIV LAW AND PUNISHMENT IS IRRATIONAL AND GROSSLY UNFAIR.

Mayo Schreiber, Deputy Director of The Center for HIV Law and Policy and a long-time criminal defense attorney, pointed out, “The criminal statute that Michael Johnson was convicted of violating was originally passed in 1988, at a time when HIV was considered a ‘death sentence.’  Today, with proper treatment, HIV is a chronic, manageable disease and those with HIV can expect to live a full, healthy life. Yet violation of the Missouri law is a class A felony, with a sentencing range of 10-30 years or life imprisonment. Other class A felonies include murder or child abandonment resulting in death.  Punishing Michael Johnson as if he is a murderer because state officials have failed to address a severely outdated, irrational criminal law is not only fundamentally unfair, it is barbaric.”

·       THE STATE OF MISSOURI IS PLAYING BAIT AND SWITCH WITH ITS CITIZENS.

LaTrischa Miles, member of the Missouri AIDS Task Force, founder of GRACE of Greater Kansas City, a faith-based organization for women affected by HIV/AIDS, and Co-Founder of Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA), stated: "The state of Missouri spends significant resources encouraging its citizens to be tested for HIV. The state then prosecutes people who test positive for HIV and are unable to prove that they disclosed this to their sexual partners. That just doesn’t make sense.” 

Lauren Fanning, an outreach specialist for CHLP’s Positive Justice Project, which seeks to reform HIV criminal laws in the U.S., pointed out, “State and local health officials stood by silently while the prosecutor used ignorance about HIV to persuade a jury that Michael Johnson’s HIV is effectively a deadly weapon. How do you think this double-talk affects people’s comfort with getting tested?”

The Positive Justice Project (PJP), a project of CHLP, is a national coalition of organizations and individuals, including those living with HIV, those accused or prosecuted, medical and public health professionals, law enforcement, community organizers, advocates, attorneys, sex workers, social scientists and others working to end HIV criminalization in the United States. To join or to get more information about PJP, contact Community Outreach Specialist Stephen Williams at swilliams@hivlawandpolicy.org.

For more information regarding the Missouri AIDS Task Force and local organizing around HIV criminal laws, contact moaidstaskforce@gmail.com, or contact Lauren Fanning, Senior Community Outreach Specialist for criminal law modernization efforts at lfanning@hivlawandpolicy.org.

Links
Guidance for People Living with HIV Who Are At Risk of, or Are Facing, Criminal Prosecution for HIV Nondisclosure or Exposure, C, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization: State and Federal Laws and Prosecutions, Vol.1, The Center for HIV Law and Pol, This is How We Win: A Toolkit for Community Advocates, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization, A Manual for Advocates,, Guiding Principles for Eliminating Disease-Specific Criminal Laws, Positive Justice Project Steering Committee (2015)

 Catherine Hanssens Founder/Executive Director

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