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Appellate Court Overturns Conviction of HIV-Positive Man Who Had Intercourse with Unaware Partner

A jury in Gwinnett County found James Propes to be guilty of engaging in sexual intercourse with his partner without disclosing that he was HIV-positive. Upon appeal of the decision, the appeals court agreed with Propes’ position that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Propes contended the state did not present laboratory test results or any other evidence that would allow the jury to reasonably determine he was HIV-positive. Thus, he claimed there was not enough evidence to support a conviction.

Man accused of using fluids as deadly weapon

According to the alleged victim, she and Propes had sexual intercourse three times, during which Propes did not wear a condom and did not tell her he was HIV-positive. She only learned of his condition when the relationship was over. Articles the woman found online focused on Propes’ arrest for reckless endangerment in July 2012. He pleaded guilty to charges that included his use of bodily fluids containing HIV as a deadly weapon.

Propes told a Gwinnett County investigator he was HIV-positive and had been for about five years. He admitted to having sex with the victim, but claimed it was just once and that he had worn a condom. He did, however, admit to not telling her he was HIV-positive. There was no evidence of any HIV testing beyond the test taken in the 2012 incident.

The appeals court determined that it is the responsibility of the state to prove the defendant was infected by introducing into evidence a positive HIV test. The case contained no record of that test.

This is an important case, as it shows people accused of criminal offenses just how important it is to assert their legal rights if the prosecution fails to provide airtight evidence of a crime.

To learn more about the criminal process and the best strategy to use in your defense, speak with a skilled Georgia criminal defense lawyer at James D. Michael, P.C. Call us at 404-857-4059 or contact us online today.