South Dakota College Student Accused of Intentionally Exposing Women to HIV Asks Judge to Recuse Himself
South Dakota college student Nikko Briteramos, who was arrested in March and indicted last month on three counts of intentional HIV exposure, has asked the trial judge to remove himself from the case, the Associated Press reports. Briteramos said that he would not be able to receive a "fair trial" if Circuit Judge Jon Erickson was presiding. However, Briteramos did not cite any reasons for the request. Erickson yesterday said that he would not remove himself from the case, which means that Chief Circuit Judge Rodney Steele will have to decide if Erickson can remain on the case. Erickson canceled a hearing set for today on whether or not to ease a media gag order "designed to limit pretrial publicity" and assemble an impartial jury, the Associated Press reports (Kafka, Associated Press, 6/7). The case has called national attention to state laws that make it a crime for individuals who test positive for HIV to have unprotected sexual contact without informing their partners of their HIV status. The case has also prompted national public policy groups and AIDS activists to question the effectiveness of such state laws. Those opposing the laws argue that the "best defense" against them is to never get tested for HIV. More than 30 states have enacted laws to discourage intentional HIV transmission (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/4). The Briteramos trial is scheduled to begin July 24 (Associated Press, 6/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.