The Minnesota Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of an HIV positive man who was accused of passing the virus to another man through unprotected sex.
Daniel James Rick, 31, was convicted last October of attempted first-degree assault under a state law that makes it a crime to knowingly transfer a communicable disease through “sexual penetration with another person without having first informed the other person” of their medical status.
The statue also makes it illegal to spread HIV by transferring “blood, sperm, organs or tissue, except as deemed necessary for medical research or if disclosed on donor screening forms.”
Associated Press reports Rick was acquitted under the first part of the statute, because the jury found that he disclosed he was HIV positive before having sex with his alleged victim in 2009.
However, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman plans to appeal the decision.
In addition, he said, the state will proceed with two other criminal sex cases against Rick, which were charged under different statutes.
“Mr Rick is a very dangerous man, who knew he was HIV positive, running around and giving it to people,” Freeman said.
Rick’s attorney, Grant Smith, said he was happy the court ruling showed that if a person with a communicable disease informs his or her partner, it is not a crime to engage in consensual sex.