Rhoades v. State of Iowa, Appellee’s Brief and Conditional Notice of Oral Argument, Supreme Court of Iowa, State of Iowa (2012)

Pleadings and Briefs

The State of Iowa's response brief to the Supreme Court of Iowa in Nick Rhoades's 2012 appeal of the denial of his application for post-conviction relief. In 2008, Rhoades was convicted of criminal transmission of HIV under Iowa Code § 701C.1 after a one-time consensual sexual encounter that occurred prior to disclosure of his HIV status. The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, the Center for HIV Law and Policy, and the HIV Law Project submitted an amicus brief in support of Rhoades's appeal. Amici argued that Rhoades's conduct is consistent with Iowa state and federal public health policies and practices that encourage risk reduction through condom use and other safer sex practices, and that encourage, without mandating, an individual's disclosure of HIV status to partners.

In its response brief, the State argues that a factual basis existed for Rhoades's conviction. The State argues that the crime of criminal transmission of HIV is one of general, not specific, intent. As such, the criminal act is simply the potential exposure to HIV, not Rhoades's specific intent to transmit HIV or the actual transmission of HIV. The State deemed the public health arguments set forth in the amicus brief matters of policy for the legislature and not the courts. The State conceded that while advancements in medical science may compel the legislature to revisit the statute, this is not for the Supreme Court of Iowa to consider at this time.