In July 2014, Orlando Batista was indicted for felonious assault for allegedly engaging in sexual conduct with his girlfriend without first disclosing his HIV status to her. After the trial court rejected his motion to dismiss, Batista pleaded no contest and the court sentenced him to the maximum term of eight years. Batista filed an appeal, and in May 2016, the Court of Appeals, First Appellate District, affirmed his conviction. His attorneys at the Hamilton County Public Defender then filed a motion asking the Supreme Court of Ohio to exercise jurisdiction and hear the appeal of the Court of Appeals decision.
CHLP assisted the ACLU of Ohio in developing arguments in the case and soliciting participation in an amicus memorandum that was filed on June 20 by the ACLU of Ohio, supporting the defendant’s request for leave to file an appeal. Issues argued are that Ohio’s felonious assault statute: (1) violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the Ohio and United States Constitutions because it singles out people living with HIV for prosecution in response to conduct that is not criminal in the case of other groups, for example those living with other sexually transmitted diseases; (2) compels speech in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Section 11, Article I of the Ohio Constitution; and, (3) violates the Americans with Disabilities Act for reasons similar to those in point one.
The organizations submitting the amicus brief on behalf of Batista are:
ACLU of Ohio Foundation, Inc.
American Academy of HIV Medicine
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for HIV Law and Policy
Cuyahoga County Public Defender
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
Human Rights Campaign
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National LGBTQ Task Force
Nueva Luz Urban Resource Center
Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Ohio Public Defender
Treatment Action Group