National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) passes resolution calling for an end to HIV criminal laws and prosecutions


On May 21, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers announced that its board has adopted a resolution opposing laws that that base criminal liability and/or penalty enhancements on one’s HIV status, rather than on the intent to harm another individual.

CHLP commends the resolution condemning HIV-related criminal prosecutions and echoes the comments of NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris that "laws such as these are textbook examples of flawed criminal justice policy...and operate as an impediment to what should be the shared goal here – ending the epidemic."

As set forth in NACDL's resolution, "the focus on knowledge of status as a key element of an HIV-related crime, rather than on intent and capacity to transmit the virus, is a classic example of an inadequate mens rea, or criminal intent, requirement and overly expansive criminalization.”

NACDL is a professional bar association that includes private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

“Our recent partnership with NACDL and the ABA AIDS Coordinating Committee on our joint Teleconference on HIV Criminalization is a reflection of how much we value the National Association and its members for the hard work they do every day to ensure justice is served. We look forward to continuing this partnership in our shared effort to bring HIV criminalization to an end,” said CHLP Co-Director Allison Nichol.

Related Issues