Rhoades v. Iowa

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Status: Closed
Outcome:
Landmark Case, Victory
Court:
Iowa Supreme Court
Issues: HIV

HIV criminalization case where an HIV-positive man was sentenced to 25 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender after a one-time sexual encounter in which he used a condom.

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Nick Rhoades is an HIV-positive gay man living in Iowa. In June 2008, Rhoades had a one-time sexual encounter with Adam Plendl during which they used a condom. Several days after, Plendl was told by a friend that Rhoades might be HIV-positive, and he contacted the police. The police arrested Rhoades in September 2008, and charged him with intentionally exposing Plendl to HIV. On the advice of his counsel, Rhoades pled guilty, despite the fact that a condom was used and Mr. Plendl did not contract HIV. Rhoades was convicted and received the maximum sentence: 25 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender. Several months later, the court suspended his prison sentence and placed him on supervised probation for five years. On March 15, 2010, Rhoades filed an Application for Post-Conviction Relief, arguing that he had received ineffective assistance from his counsel who advised him to plead guilty. In December 2011, the court denied the application. Lambda Legal is representing Mr. Rhoades in his appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.