Tag Archive for Audrey Baron Dunning

Can Spit be Used as a Weapon?


That seems to be the issue for an upcoming legal charges against David Plunkett in New York.  During a fight in 2006, prosecutors argued that Plunkett had intentionally put a police officer at risk of contracting the life-threatening AIDS because he is HIV+.

New York’s State’s Court of Appeals, may soon be clarified whether someone’s potentially virus-infested saliva can be considered a “dangerous instrument” under the law. This will be very interesting court decision because the medical field knows that saliva is not known to transmit HIV to another person, unless the saliva also contains the infected person’s blood. 

If the court rules that saliva is a “substance” that someone can use to seriously injure or kill another person, then Plunkett’s attorney – as well as a national organization dedicated to protecting the rights of people living with HIV – fears what this might mean for anyone else across the state who suffers from a transmittable disease. “This is a very slippery slope to go down,” said Plunkett’s Ilion-based attorney, Audrey Baron Dunning. If not, then his charges can be lowered to assault.

“Our understanding of HIV has advanced enough that we understand how it can and can’t be transmitted, and that should be the baseline of the justice system on this. If it cannot be transmitted, then there shouldn’t be a prosecution based on its possible transmission,” said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project director at Lambda Legal in Chicago.

Its seems, education is again key to bring back to this Country since people are forgetting the basics about HIV transmission.  We don’t want to go back to the 80’s where there was an HIV panic.  We’ll be watching this case closely.

Tom Thayer

info: http://www.uticaod.com/news/x787561988/Can-HIV-infected-saliva-be-a-deadly-weapon