Published January, 1999

State v. Thomas, 983 P.2d 245 (Idaho Ct. App. 1999)

Thomas was found guilty of transferring body fluid while HIV positive in violation of Idaho law, Idaho Code Ann. § 39-608. Thomas received a maximum fifteen-year sentence, with eligibility for parole in seven years.

In 1996, Thomas met C.G., the complainant, at a bar in Boise, Idaho and afterwards the two engaged in consensual anal and oral sex, although according to Thomas, without his ejaculating. After Thomas left C.G.'s apartment, C.G. learned from a roommate that Thomas was HIV-positive and immediately called the police.

On appeal, Thomas argued that the State had not presented evidence sufficient to maintain the charges brought against him and also challenged that the length of his sentence was unduly harsh. Rejecting Thomas's argument, the Idaho Court of Appeals held that the testimony of the complainant, the complainant's friend, and roommate were a "substantial and competent" body of evidence in support of the jury's decision. The Court went on to hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Thomas to seven to fifteen years imprisonment because Thomas previously had been convicted of statutory rape where he allegedly failed to inform his partner that he was HIV positive.

Under Idaho's statute, Thomas' only defenses would have rested on proof 1) that he did not in fact transfer semen or other body fluid (which was successfully contested); 2) that C.G. consented to sexual contact with the knowledge that Thomas is HIV positive; or 3) that a health care provider had informed Thomas' that he is "not infectious."