Thursday, June 7, 2012

NY court: HIV-infected man's saliva not a weapon
I think the court is wrong on this one.
The saliva of an HIV-infected man who bit a police officer doesn't constitute a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument under state law...
Yeah, I know, key words: Under State Law.
They need to change their laws if not their judges.

Last I heard, somebody can be infected with HIV due to saliva. Saliva, in this case, is a deadly weapon. More deadlier than that 'real' looking squirt-gun somebody may have used to rob a bank with and has been subsequently convicted of a deadly weapons charge.

I've also heard (not sure when/where) that somebody who is highly acquired in one of the martial arts (karate, boxing,etc...) can be charged with 'deadly weapon' enhancements that a layman my not face. If true, I'd say that an HIV guy falls under the same logical category as to his saliva and other personal fluids.

17 comments:

Bike Bubba said...

Whether or not it is a deadly weapon--I've been told that saliva is not a prime way to get HIV--that certainly was the perp's intent. Plus, when you bite, you can exchange blood, which IS a prime way of getting HIV.

But who ever accused California lawmakers of logic? :^)

Brian said...

Viral load in saliva is miniscule to non-existent. Retroviruses (incl. HIV) die very quickly on exposure to air, and saliva is in pretty constant contact with the air. So even with mixing of saliva and blood (gross) as in a bite, infection is pretty unlikely.

Bubba's point about intent is valid, though I'm not sure it's obvious that the intent of biting was specifically to infect with HIV. In any case, that'd be pretty hard to prove in court, unless (say) the guy threatened to do so specifically.

But yeah, states are far from consistent on what constitutes assault with a deadly weapon. In some places, kicking or stomping on a person who is on the ground qualifies. (And depending on how hard and where you kick, it probably should.)

Foxfier said...

The problem with isolating saliva as a trajectory is that it assumes the person has no cuts in their mouth-- a rather silly thing to assume, given the deadly side-effects.

I know from my school-station in the Navy that even Naval personel-- who get jack crud for physical fighting training- have it counted against them in a physical fight; Marines, who get actual training, have it worse, and God forbid you're certified in hand-to-hand. If you know how to make your body a deadly weapon, then punching someone is a deadly weapon.

Looks like a pretty obvious example if discrimination FOR someone because they've go a disease.

Foxfier said...

(Hey, if my mom had to deal with spit and blood like it's a deadly thing nearly twenty years ago as a California school bus driver, it's pretty dang established.)

Gino said...

whatever the science says (and i TOTALLY trust Brian on this, in caps and then some), if an HIV dude bites me, he is intending something.

Foxfier said...

Amen!

It's a matter of "no chance assault" and "small chance" assault.

Foxfier said...

(assuming the assaulter knew the science, come to think of it)

I remember our STD section of sex class mentioning that the big problem was breaks in the skin, not so much body-fluids. If it has a chance of blood, it's scary-- including if you have a cold sore.

Gino said...

aging myself: there was no mention if HIV in sex class.

Gino said...

and 'safe sex' meant no babies.

Foxfier said...

and 'safe sex' meant no babies.


Which is pretty dang perverse. "Hey, this is a physical activity which has a GAZILLION horrific ways of dying and living associated with it, but we're worried about a new life coming from it. 'Cus that's worse than insanity, cancer and stuff."

Gino said...

"GAZILLION horrific ways of dying..."

was a simpler time in the early 80's. we didnt have HIV back then.
hell, we didnt even have the popular term 'safe sex' back then...

the worst thing you could get was herpes simplex something-or-another... but it was manageable if you got affected.

back then, condoms were to keep the stork away, not the grim reaper.

Night Writer said...

8th grade, 1972. Our "sex ed" instructor - the baseball coach - did talk about transmitting venereal disease. "Boys," he said, "if you try to tell your doctor you got VD from a toilet seat, he's going to ask you who it was you had on the toilet seat."

Bike Bubba said...

Herpes Simplex II--hey, wasn't that a compact car from Chrysler?

(apologies to Steve Dahl)

What was it, about 1984 when HIV became well known?

Gino said...

about that. 1980/81 it was discovered, but limited to a few haitians and gay men.
that meant a free ride for the rest of us.

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