HIV-Positive Man's Saliva Not a "Deadly Weapon," New York's Highest Court Rules
June 8, 2012
The aggravated assault conviction of an HIV-positive man was overturned unanimously by the New York Court of Appeals on June 7, after the court found that the man's saliva could not legally be considered a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. David Plunkett was serving a 10-year sentence for punching and biting a police officer.
The incident occurred in 2006 when Plunkett was causing a disturbance as a patient at an Ilion clinic. Plunkett reportedly had a history of medical illness and assaulted one of the responding officers.
In New York, in order for assault to become aggravated assault (which carries a greater penalty), the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is required. The original judge considered HIV-positive saliva a deadly weapon, making biting an aggravated assault. Plunkett pleaded guilty to both assault and aggravated assault.View Full Article
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