Lambda Legal Applauds Michigan Court Ruling to Drop Bioterrorism Charge Based on Alleged HIV Status of Defendant

"Discrimination and stigma remain problems for people living with HIV because of the misinformation about HIV. A court has to make decisions, as it did here, based on facts not fear."

Date

Date: 
06/03/2010

(Detroit, June 3, 2010) -- Today, Lambda Legal applauds the Macomb County Circuit Court's decision late yesterday to drop the bioterrorism charge against a man based on his alleged HIV status.

"We are glad the Court ruled with science. Being HIV-positive does not make a person a bioterrorist," said Bebe Anderson, Lambda Legal's HIV Project Director. "Discrimination and stigma remain problems for people living with HIV because of the misinformation about HIV. A court has to make decisions, as it did here, based on facts not fear."

In October 2009, Daniel Allen was involved in an altercation in which he allegedly bit his neighbor. Mr. Allen is facing assault charges as a result of the incident, but he also was charged with violating a Michigan bioterrorism statute based on the allegation he has HIV.

Lambda Legal filed an amicus brief in the matter, urging the court to drop the bioterrorism charge. The brief explains that the realities of HIV transmission risk do not support prosecuting Daniel Allen under a bioterrorism charge and that this charge leads to public misunderstanding of how HIV is transmitted, contributes to stigmatizing people with HIV and undermines important public health goals.

To read the amicus brief: http://www.lambdalegal.org/our-work/in-court/briefs/people-v-allen_mi_20100419_amicus-lambda-legal-et-al.html

The case is People v. Allen.

Bebe Anderson, HIV Project Director, is handling the matter for Lambda Legal. The amicus brief was filed on behalf of Lambda Legal, Community AIDS Resource and Education Services, Michigan Positive Action Coalition, and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc.

###

###

Contact Info

Contact: Jonathan Adams 212-809-8585 ext 267; jadams@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.