23 Nov CINCINNATI – After two days of deliberations, jurors have found Andre Davis guilty on 14 of 15 counts, with sentencing scheduled on December 21. But in a state where prosecutors are not required to prove that Davis was infected with anything, the jury’s low burden of proof was hard to ignore.
When police arrested Andre Davis for exposing several women to the virus that causes AIDS, the story spread fast. By month’s end, 12 women claimed that Davis had sex with them – and fathered at least two children.
But in her haste to convict the former WWE wrestler to 120 years in prison, Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Amy Tranter forgot to prove that Davis “tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.”
Although one HIV co-discover never proved that HIV causes AIDS (1, 2, 3, 4) and the other admits that HIV can be cured within a few weeks without drugs, others have raised questions as to whether HIV causes AIDS at all.
To prove that Davis was infected with “the virus that causes AIDS,” Tranter could have called Davis’ doctor, Bryan Donohue MD. After all, when prosecutors charge dangerous drunk drivers, courts require the arresting officer’s direct testimony about the testing and diagnosis (objective symptoms) of the driver. It’s not enough for a police chief or deputy coroner to recite a police report in the officer’s absence. The 6th Amendment prohibits hearsay and, without the officer’s sworn testimony, the case is dismissed – regardless of how credible the readers of the report may be.
So if Davis was as dangerous as the media reports claimed, why didn’t Tranter call the only person qualified to prove her case?
As the clinician who ordered the test and supposedly diagnosed Davis, Dr. Donohue was the only person qualified to testify as to whether he competently diagnosed Davis as “HIV-positive.”
Although she and Donohue had months to prepare, Tranter never called him. Instead, she called a social worker, a policeman, lab employee, and nine distraught girlfriends – none of whom could prove that Davis “tested positive for a virus that causes AIDS.”
As it turned out, they didn’t need a medical expert.
While prosecutors must prove that drunk drivers are drunk when arrested, Ohio’s assault law only requires them to show that Davis didn’t tell others what unknown third parties wrote in an uncertified test report. Despite dozens of warning letters, recalls and fines against HIV testing labs and manufacturers, prosecutors only had to prove that a social worker had read a report to him.
Tranter may have had good reason not to call Dr. Donohue.
Since 2004, drug companies have paid $12 billion to settle thousands of criminal complaints related to the illegal marketing of deadly drugs that kill or injure more than a million Americans annually. Drug companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Gilead Sciences routinely bribe clinicians who unnecessarily prescribe toxic drugs to healthy patients. As Shannon Brownlee and others have reported, iatrogenic (doctor-caused) injuries generate additional revenues (visits and prescriptions) to treat or mask preventable injuries and unnecessary prescriptions.
Clinicians who have received thousands of dollars in “speaking fees” include Donohue Cardiology associates Christopher Allen MD, Linda Gordon and Dr. Donohue, whose practice has accepted kickbacks from Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Boston Scientific, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Merck, Reliant, Sankyo, and Schering Plough. This month alone, GSK paid a $3 billion settlement for illegally marketing a deadly drug.
That Tranter asked a local deputy coroner to recite the questionable lab results speaks volumes. Although no competent court would allow a Cincinnati policeman to testify about a Pennsylvania arrest report, Tranter called Deputy Coroner William Ralston MD to testify about test results from Quest Diagnostics, which paid a $302 million fine for deliberately using unapproved and misbranded diagnostic equipment to test biological samples.
Ordinarily, the 6th Amendment guarantees a defendant’s right to question his accusers. But rather than call Dr. Donohue, Ms. Tranter tramped nine distraught ex-girlfriends to discuss their private sex lives. Despite objections from Davis’ defense attorneys, Common Pleas Judge Jerome Metz allowed the witnesses to testify anyway.
On the fourth day of testimony, Cincinnati Police Officer Bryant Stewart played a recorded interview in which Davis expressed remorse and admitted that he was infected with HIV. But HIV is not like a missing leg that Davis can point to and declare, “My left leg is missing.” With regard to things that cannot be detected by one or more of the five senses (or even HIV tests), Davis can only admit to what other people have told him. The fact that Tranter made no attempt to confirm the test results with Dr. Donohue suggests that she thought hearsay about hearsay was sufficient, or that she didn’t want a doctor who accepts kickbacks from drug companies to confuse the jurors.
OMSJ expects an appeal.
Jury Selected – Opening Statements
Baron Coleman joins case – Davis may not be infected
Police play Davis’ admission
More ex-girlfriends testify
- November 21, 2011: Defense Rests Without Calling Witnesses In HIV Sex Trial
- November 17, 2011: Tape: Man Accused In HIV Case Says ‘I Made A Mistake’
- November 17, 2011: More Women Testify In Andre Davis HIV Trial
- November 16, 2011: Ex-Girlfriend: Davis Had Sex With Women After HIV Test
- November 15, 2011: Testimony Begins Tuesday In HIV Sex Trial
- November 10, 2011: Testimony To Begin Monday In HIV Sex Case
- November 9, 2011: No Plea Deal In HIV Sex Case
- May 16, 2011: More Assault Indictments For HIV Positive Man
- May 4, 2011: Grand Jury Indicts HIV Positive Man On More Charges
- April 27, 2011: HIV-Positive Man May Face More Assault Charges
- April 14, 2011: More Assault Charges Filed Against HIV-Positive Man