Man with HIV No Terror Threat

June 4, 2010

Detroit Jun 4 – “HIV is not a death sentence,” Daniel Allen said Thursday as he left Macomb County Circuit Judge Peter Maceroni’s courtroom in Mt. Clemens.  Maceroni said during the hearing that he was throwing out the felony charge against Allen, 44, of Clinton Township because of insufficient evidence. In an order filed Wednesday, he said there was no evidence that Allen’s HIV-positive blood was present when he bit the lip of Winfred Fernandis Jr., 29, during a fight Oct. 18.

by TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA and ZLATI MEYER
Free Press

Attorney James Galen, Jr. and his client, Daniel Allen, answer media questions following a hearing on May 10 at Macomb County Circuit Court. Allen is charged, with, among other things, bio-terrorism for allegedly biting a man during a neighborhood fight.

Allen said he’s still anxious to have dismissed 10-year felony charges of assault with intent to maim and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. A June 24 hearing is scheduled.

“I’ve never went up and attacked anyone in my life,” he said, claiming he was targeted because he’s gay.

The disagreement began after a ball thrown by Fernandis’ son landed in Allen’s yard.

“I’m just glad there are still some charges left,” Fernandis said as he left court Thursday. “There’s always two sides to a story.”

Maceroni heard arguments regarding the bioterrorism charge by Allen’s lawyer James Galen, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lambda Defense and Education Fund on May 10.  They’d maintained that what happened wasn’t covered by the state’s 2004 antiterrorism law about unlawful possession or use of a harmful device.

“This is a victory for all people living with HIV who risked facing similar outrageous and misguided criminal charges based solely on their HIV status,” ACLU of Michigan lawyer Jay Kaplan said about the charge’s dismissal.

Allen’s lawyer said he’d welcome the chance to have Allen plead to a misdemeanor charge to end the case.

UPDATE:

Dec 9 – Daniel Allen agreed to probation (for the alleged bite) and a $110 fine.  All HIV-related charges were dropped (video).

The HIV Innocence Group provides legal and scientific assistance to individuals charged with HIV-related crimes.   A recurring (monthly) $5 donation helps OMSJ help others.   See also: Michigan Messenger (2), Fox2 and Macomb Daily for more on the story.

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