September 19, 2013
New Jersey state lawmakers introduced a bill that would permit authorities to obtain medical records of persons accused of not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners. The measure was prompted by the recent acquittal of a retired police captain who did not tell his female sexual partners that he was HIV-positive; an appeals court cited current state law that barred prosecutors from obtaining his medical records.
"Failing to inform a sexual partner of this type of personal information can result in life-changing and deadly results and is akin to the most serious of assaults," said Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16th District). "In order to allow for the appropriate prosecution of this appalling crime -- and to send a message to others that this selfish and dangerous behavior won't be tolerated -- we must give the court the ability to consider information critical to the case like a suspect's medical history."
The bill, co-sponsored by Bateman, Assembly Member Jack Ciattarelli (R-16th District), and Assembly Member Donna Simon (R-16th District), would allow a court order to release medical records for a person charged with a third-degree crime of not disclosing his/her HIV-positive status to sexual partners. Current law prohibits access to medical records unless the offender is charged with a first-degree crime as well. "The legal system will never ever be perfectly perfect," Ciattarelli said. But he added that it was the policymaker's job to perfect laws as much as possible "and ensure that justice is served."