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35 Years in Prison: Is HIV Spit a Deadly Weapon?

A Texas jury just handed down a 35-year sentence to an HIV-positive man convicted of harassing a public servant by spitting into the eye and mouth of a police officer.

Because his saliva was considered a deadly weapon, he will have to serve half of the sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.

The incident happened while the ill man was intoxicated in public. It seems that if he did not have HIV, a minimum 17 years in jail would be very extreme for a stupid drunken night. Is it still?

Considering that contact with saliva has never been shown to spread HIV, is this sentence an irrational response to the offense? Or, is society justified in taking such a reckless man off the streets?


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