Iowa: Man Accused of Passing HIV Pleads to Lesser Count
January 22, 2003
Attorneys for Aaron Dahlberg, 25, who was accused of knowingly transmitting HIV during unprotected sex with an Iowa City, Iowa, man, said Tuesday that Dahlberg has entered a plea to a lesser crime. Trial for the Inver Grove Heights, Minn., man, was to begin yesterday in Iowa City.Adapted from:
In an agreement with the Johnson County attorney's office, Dahlberg entered an Alford plea to one count of willful injury. Under such a plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees that a judge or jury could convict him based on the evidence. Dahlberg attorney Leon Spies said the deal, approved by Judge Patrick Grady, calls only for probation and gives the judge the option of deferring judgment or suspending the sentence. Sentencing is set for Feb. 28. Willful injury, a felony, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Had he been convicted of the more serious charge of criminal HIV transmission, Dahlberg could have faced up to 25 years in prison.
Spies said the resolution stemmed in part from doubts both sides had heading into the trial, and concerns for Dahlberg and the victim. Johnson County Assistant Attorney Anne Lahey said she would not have approved of the plea agreement without the consent of the victim. She declined to say whether the victim has tested positive for HIV.
Only a handful of similar cases have been tried in Iowa since the felony charge became law four years ago. The case is the first such one brought in Johnson County. In July 2001, Dahlberg was charged with failing to reveal he was HIV-positive before having unprotected sex with the Iowa City man the previous spring. Police reported the victim said Dahlberg denied having any sexually transmitted diseases.
01.21.03; Todd Dvorak
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.