A lawyer friend in DC just sent along this disturbing story off the AP wire:

HIV-positive man sentenced 35 years for spitting at officer

Thu May 15, 6:32 AM ET

An HIV-positive man convicted of spitting into the eye and mouth of a Dallas police officer has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Because a jury found that Willie Campbell used his saliva as a deadly weapon, the 42-year-old will have to serve half his sentence before becoming eligible for parole. He was sentenced Wednesday.

Campbell was being arrested in May 2006 for public intoxication when he began resisting and kicking inside the patrol car, Dallas police office Dan Waller testified.

Campbell was convicted of harassment of a public servant.


The criminalization of HIV infection is an issue that we at Vermont CARES have been keeping a close eye on. With this story (and the incredibly harsh sentence) it seems that our vigilance is warranted. Granted, there is not much information in this release but it is always scary to see how flexible the protection of someone’s civil liberties is when HIV comes into the mix. We’ll be doing some more research about this case and updating when we know more.