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Press Release

Michigan Lawmakers Decry Case Charging HIV-Positive Man With Terrorism for Biting

Charges Said to Misinterpret Meaning of Michigan State Terrorism Laws

November 11, 2009

A neighborhood tussle in October became an issue of terror when an HIV-positive man was charged with attempted bioterrorism for allegedly biting his neighbor while the two were fighting one another, the Michigan Messenger reports. Several Michigan lawmakers, speaking to Michigan Messenger reporter Todd Heywood, are critical of the charges.

"I think we need to put this in perspective in light of the tragic events at Fort Hood," State Sen. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) said in an interview with Michigan Messenger, arguing that the charges are out of proportion. "That [Fort Hood event] should be investigated as terrorism. The magnitude of the instances is not even similar."

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See Also
State Lawmakers Question Terrorism Charges for HIV-Positive Man (From the Michigan Messenger)
HIV-as-Terrorism Case Could Make Legal Waves (From the Michigan Messenger)
More on HIV Transmission Cases

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Amy Marie Daniel (St Cloud, MN) Tue., Dec. 8, 2009 at 2:27 pm EST
Daniel Allen didn't commit bio terrorism. You can not transfer HIV/AIDS through a bite or saliva for that matter. Also, there was never any mention of an intention to transfer his HIV to the other person. Within the fight Daniel very well could have been pinned down or had been getting choked and used the bight as a defense rather than a means to transfer his HIV. So even though he was within possession of a "biological weapon" there is no proof of any intent to transfer it and use it as a weapon.
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Comment by: Ellen (Michigan) Thu., Dec. 3, 2009 at 8:54 am EST
Paul - Just to clarify, Allen's status was not disclosed voluntarily. HIV did not come up until our local Fox News station discovered his status in their investigation, tracked the man down, stuck a camera in his face and asked him if it was true. (At which time he said yes.)

And Daniel - YES. You got it. Anyone could be charged with possession of a harmful device (a 15-year-felony, assuming there is no personal or property damage), at any time and for any or no reason.
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Comment by: Daniel (Melbourne) Mon., Nov. 23, 2009 at 7:26 am EST
WTF? "...making it a crime to have a harmful device, which is defined as either biological, chemical, electronic or radioactive."

This would seem to imply that it is a crime just to be infected with HIV (or any infectious disease) as by being so, you are in 'possession of a harmful biological device'.
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Comment by: Ned MacInnis (Halifax, NS Canada) Fri., Nov. 20, 2009 at 9:52 am EST
I'm just dumb-struck... Dumb-struck!
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Comment by: Kathy (Saint Petersburg, Florida) Fri., Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:27 am EST
Bioterrorism for biting a man in a fight! HIV is not transmitted via a human bite. Public officials should be required to take classes on HIV transmission so the law is not grossly misinterpreted as it has been in this case. I hope common sense will prevail and the attempted bioterrorism charge dropped.
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Comment by: Paul (Medford, OR) Thu., Nov. 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm EST
What a horrible way to "publicly acknowledged his HIV-positive status." One would think it be more appropriate to keep his HIV status private during this situation. However, if he didnt, the stigma associated with HIV wouldnt be in the open. I can see it both ways. One, he should have kept his status private as to not give any more amunition to the prosecuting side. Secondly, the obviously obscured and mis-use of the bioterrorism law only emphasized the stigma and ignorance people have toward HIV. People have been prosecuted with attempted murder and now bioterrorism. No wonder the humanitarian efforts of the HIV/AIDS movement has declined over the last 10 years. Instead of us HIV positive people living in shame and fear, the prosecuting attorney should be ashamed of him/herself for grossly misinterpreting the law.
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Comment by: Peter (Perth, Western Australia) Thu., Nov. 19, 2009 at 8:05 pm EST
Just goes to show that there is still so much ignorance in the world from people who should know better when dealing with these sorts of issues. It's about time we rid the world of the stigma & discrimination associated with people living with HIV. God knows, it's been around long enough for people for public officers to use their common sense. WORLD AIDS DAY - DECEMBER 1. Rid the world of stigma & discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS....
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