Ohio Supreme Court Will Review Felony HIV Exposure Law and Conviction
The Ohio Supreme Court announced today, over three dissents, that it would review the HIV criminal law at issue in State of Ohio v. Orlando Batista. CHLP, along with fourteen Ohio-based and national HIV, civil liberties, LGBT, social advocacy and criminal justice organizations, signed on as friends of the court in support of appellant Orlando Batista's request for leave to appeal his conviction, under Ohio's HIV exposure law, to Ohio's highest court.
Batista's lawyers had argued at trial that the charges should be dismissed because the Ohio law is unconstituional. When the trial court rejected this argument, Batista did not contest that he had sex with his girlfriend without first disclosing his HIV status to her. The trial court found him guilty and sentenced him to 8 years imprisonment, the maximum allowed under the statute. Batista preserved his right to challenge the legality of the Ohio statutue itself on appeal, but the appellate court rejected these arguments and affirmed Batista's conviction. The Hamilton County Public Defender, representing Batista, submitted a brief to the Ohio Supreme Court seeking review of the Ohio law.
We expect to submit an amicus brief to the Ohio Supreme Court by the end of 2016.