​Challenge to overbroad statute criminalizing consensual sexual conduct by people with HIV

Case Description

ACLU of Minnesota along with ACLU and Lambda Legal filed a friend of the court brief in this case surrounding the conviction of Daniel Rick who was held criminally responsible under a Minnesota Statute for knowingly transmitting a sexual disease.

In 2009, Rick, who is HIV positive, had a sexual relationship with another man, D.B., whose HIV status at the time was unknown. They mutually agreed to not use condoms. After the relationship ended, the state prosecuted Rick under Minnesota's "knowing transfer of a communicable disease" statute. At trial, the jury found that Rick had disclosed his HIV status but convicted him under an interpretation of the law that would make it a crime for individuals with HIV to have sex even after disclosing their status to their partner.

In it's brief the ACLU argued that Rick cannot be held criminally responsible for engaging in consensual sex after disclosing his HIV-status to his partner. The government must respect the personal and private decisions of consenting adults regarding sexual intimacy and procreation.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in 2012. The state Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2013.

Attorney(s)

Teresa Nelson, Legal Director for the ACLU-MN, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal

Court

Minnesota Supreme Court

Status

Victory!

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