Attorney Argues South Dakota Law Criminalizing HIV Exposure is Unconstitutional
The attorney for Nikko Briteramos, an 18-year-old SiTanka-Huron University student who has been charged with knowingly exposing a woman to HIV, argued Thursday that the law under which his client is charged is unconstitutional, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/27). South Dakota in 2000 passed a law making it a crime for people who know they are living with HIV to engage in sex or share a needle without first informing the other of their HIV status (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/29). Gary Blue, who is representing Briteramos in the case, said that the law "threatened to inhibit the fundamental right to reproduce and was unconstitutionally vague because it failed to provide sufficient guidelines for prohibited behavior." He stated, "In conducting their day-to-day personal lives and relationships, people of ordinary intelligence cannot understand how to comply with [the law's] requirement. They do not and cannot know what they must do to avoid intentionally exposing another person to [HIV]." Blue is seeking to have the case dismissed. Mike Moore, state attorney for Beadle County, said that similar challenges to laws like South Dakota's have been rejected in several states (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/27). Briteramos has been indicted on three counts of HIV exposure, but he pled innocent to the charges in May. He could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison if found guilty on all three counts (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.