Guilty until proven innocent of an impossible crime

The Guardian has an interesting recent article which, as ever, can be viewed from the lens of Rethinking. Here’s some quotes to consider:

…While a Missouri judge found Johnson guilty, the court actually never produced any evidence that he had any intent on exposing the his partner(s) to HIV, nor could they prove that the partners who testified against Johnson became positive due to sex with him.

…At his sentencing hearing in May, 30 videos of him engaging in sex were shown to the jury – many of which showed him engaging in behaviors where HIV transmission risk is low. The prosecution used these to get a harsh sentencing of Johnson. But while the videos do show him having sex, they do not necessarily prove that he didn’t disclose his status – Johnson testified he did with some partners.

Johnson is a gay black man, so the inference is that he’s likely to be doubly negligible.

…Ninety-two percent of new HIV infections occur from people who do not know their status or are not on treatment, according to a February 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you get infections from alleged sources that turn out to be negative, then what?

…That is some messed up logic, especially when the judge literally threw Johnson’s life away on speculation: both about what he knew and when, and about how the disease will affect the lives of his former partners. Missouri HIV criminalization laws can be applied to cases involving sex, and to cases of spitting while positive – which is a virtually impossible way to acquire HIV. But who needs science?

Yes, who needs science?

…The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it hasn’t bent nearly far enough for bodies that are black and queer.

If you’re a homosexual black man you’re not dissimilar to a woman who has to be thrown into the water to prove she is not a witch.

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