United States v. Stevens, 2013 WL 5844657 (N.M.Ct.Crim.App. 2013)

Court and Agency Decisions and Orders (including case law)

This United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals decision affirmed a prior conviction of violating a “safe sex order.” After being diagnosed with HIV, Stevens received a safe sex order from a commissioned officer, who was also the physician treating him. Stevens was ordered to verbally advise any prospective sexual partner that he had HIV and to not engage in sexual activities without the use of a condom. Subsequent to receiving the order, Stevens engaged in unprotected sexual activity with three individuals and did not disclose his HIV status. He pled guilty to the three order violations and to related assault specifications.

On appeal, Stevens argued that the physician had no authority to issue the safe-sex order, since he was not in Steven’s chain of command. The Court held that the treating physician, as a superior military officer assigned to the same unit as the appellant, had the appropriate authority to issue the safe-sex order.