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National News

California: Prosecutor Seeks Lengthy Prison Term for HIV-Infected Woman

July 23, 2002

A prosecutor in Compton, Calif., is seeking a felony conviction and a nine-year sentence for a woman who is facing her seventh charge of prostitution since being diagnosed with HIV in 1995. An undercover officer in south Los Angeles arrested Panchita Hall, 46, in April. At the time she was on probation for previous prostitution convictions.

Hall's Superior Court case was postponed Monday for a week. She is charged with felony prostitution, and Deputy District Attorney Lori-Ann Jones said she is seeking the maximum three-year sentence under a 1988 state law that requires prostitutes who are HIV-positive and who have been informed of their blood test results to be charged with a felony upon their second arrest. The prosecutor also wants additional prison time for Hall's four previous convictions, including one that drew a four-year suspended sentence. "It's a very dangerous situation, and the victims don't know it but she does," Jones said.

Since the felony charge for HIV-infected repeat offenses was enacted, tens of thousands of prostitutes have been tested for HIV in Los Angeles County. The first case in 1990 brought a two-year prison sentence for a male prostitute, with 216 other convictions since 1995 for those previously diagnosed with HIV.

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Adapted from:
Associated Press

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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