Judge Postpones Pretrial Hearing of HIV-Positive Los Angeles Prostitute
A Compton, Calif., Superior Court judge yesterday postponed until Monday the pretrial hearing of Panchita Hall, an HIV-positive woman who is accused of prostitution, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 7/23). Although prostitution usually carries a misdemeanor charge in California, prostitutes who know they are HIV-positive can be charged with a felony upon their second arrest. Conviction on such felony charges usually results in a maximum three-year sentence. However, Deputy District Attorney Lori-Ann Jones is expected at the hearing to ask for an "enhanced" prison sentence for Hall, who has been arrested for prostitution for the seventh time since she discovered she was HIV-positive from a court-ordered HIV test. Jones plans to "make a statement" with this case and ask the judge for a nine-year sentence for Hall because Jones said that "the criminal justice system has failed to sufficiently punish" her following her previous arrests (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.