Aiken SC – Assistance Solicitor Brenda Brisbin was not new to HIV cases. In 2009, she sent a former Aiken County art teacher to prison for six years after he allegedly exposed his wife to HIV. So when Aiken police arrested Jason Alexander Young for exposing six women to the allegedly “deadly HIV virus,” Ms. Brisbin was the ideal candidate to handle the case.
If convicted of the charges, Young faced 70 years in prison – a virtual life sentence. But as OMSJ prepared to cross-examine the prosecution’s four expert witnesses in a jury trial next week, Aiken’s top prosecutor offered a plea-deal that could set Young free by December.
Although prosecutors claimed they wanted to spare Young’s victims from the ordeal of a trial, it now appears more likely that they wanted to spare Aiken’s top HIV experts, hospitals and clinics the ordeal of being discredited in a trial that would result in a flurry of malpractice lawsuits by hundreds of Aiken’s other misdiagnosed HIV patients – including the man Brisbin sent to prison in 2009.
SYSTEMIC MEDICAL INCOMPETENCE
In addition to photographs, lab reports and statements, prosecutors had lined up four medical doctors – all self-described HIV experts – to testify about Mr. Young’s alleged infection. These experts included Communicable Disease/AIDS Consultant Robert T. Ball Jr., MD, MPH, who helped to write the book about South Carolina’s HIV Laws.
Although responsible for protecting the public health of the citizens from contagious and infectious sexually transmitted disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) report is littered with pharmaceutical marketing propaganda that they misrepresent as Medical Facts.
Most HIV infected persons will remain healthy and show no symptoms of AIDS for a long time. The current laboratory tests determine whether a person has been infected with HIV, not whether a person has the complex syndrome known as AIDS.
The DHEC and Dr. Ball are wrong.
Not only has the FDA never approved any HIV test for “diagnostic purposes,” Ball fails to explain how clinicians can diagnose HIV infection without reliable HIV tests in asymptomatic patients like Jason Young. OMSJ planned to ask Dr. Ball if he recommended other equally-ineffective and unapproved methods – like Ouija boards and Tarot cards.
This issue alone raised serious questions about Dr. Ball’s competence and the South Carolina’s legal and medical HIV policies.
After a careful review of Young’s medical records, OMSJ’s team found no evidence that Young was infected with HIV. Young’s medical records were in such disarray that they also contained the records of at least two other patients unrelated to the case. The release of those records to prosecutors and OMSJ is, by itself, a crime punishable by fine and imprisonment.
JASON YOUNG’S GUILTY PLEA
Shortly after Young signed Aiken Prosecutor Strom Thurmond’s plea deal, WRDW reporter Sheli Muniz asked Principal Investigator Clark Baker about Young’s guilty plea.
Juries are notoriously fickle. They routinely ignore evidence in favor of emotional cues that convict the innocent and acquit the guilty. When prosecutors offer an early release in exchange for a guilty plea, innocent defendants will often admit to anything – especially when their refusal involves a life sentence and $50,000 in legal fees.
Jason Young is not a medical expert. As such, he is not qualified to render medical opinions about an alleged condition that his own physicians could not coherently describe in their patient’s medical chart. Young’s guilty plea was wholly unrelated to the medical evidence that undermined the prosecution’s case. Under North Carolina v. Alford (1970), his “guilty plea” was not an admission of guilt, but was but merely an admission that he wanted to benefit from the prosecutor’s plea agreement.
After Young signed the agreement, Young’s attorney texted:
Without the hard work and resources Jason and I have been provided by OMSJ, this outcome would have been impossible, and Mr. Young very likely would have died in prison. On truly horrible facts, we got a very generous deal, and Jason and I are both very well aware that without OMSJ, that would never have happened… (OMSJ) has our deepest gratitude.
Since October 2009, OMSJ’s investigative team has helped defense attorneys force prosecutors to drop or significantly reduce criminal charges in 34 cases – including the dismissal of all charges against Marine Corps Corporal RL.
News Report – January 2011