HIV-positive DJ given house arrest for violating court order about sexual contact
RALEIGH — Health officials are so worried JW will keep spreading HIV that a probation officer will now monitor his every move with an electronic bracelet.
JW, a 23-year-old disc jockey from Raleigh, has been under the close watch of health officials — and now the court system — since August, when he admitted to disregarding rules about alerting sex partners of his status and wearing a condom during intercourse. The judge ordered him to a 30-month probation, insisted he wear a condom during sex and told him to steer clear of night clubs unless he had secured a job as a DJ.
He admitted Tuesday that he had strayed from his probation orders. A Wake County public health official caught him when he came to the clinic infected with another sexually transmitted disease that would have been blocked if he had worn a condom, said Boz Zellinger, Wake assistant district attorney.
“His behavior hasn’t changed,” Zellinger said after the hearing.
District Court Judge Jacqueline Brewer put him on house arrest for six months. She barred him from leaving his father’s home for anything other than probation-approved employment. Further, she ordered him to undergo a mental health assessment and to follow through on whatever recommendations the therapist suggests.
Man with HIV accused of breaking probation for health violation
RALEIGH – An HIV-positive man is being held in the Wake County jail, accused of violating probation by having sex without using a condom.
JW, 23, was put on probation in August for violating a little-used provision of the public health code. JW, a disk jockey who is widely known in the dance club circuit in Wilmington, was ordered to refrain from sex without a condom and steer clear of nightclubs unless he was hired to spin.
Earlier this month, Wake County health department staff contacted his probation officer to say they believed he had engaged in unprotected sex, said Keith Acree, spokesmen for the state Department of Correction, which oversees probation officers.
If a judge agrees, he could be sentenced to 40 days in jail. He currently is in the Wake County jail awaiting an Oct. 21 hearing on the probation violation.
The state’s public health code gives public health officials the right to tell infected patients how to behave in the privacy of their bedrooms.
This summer, JW became the second Wake County person in more than 15 years to face criminal charges for violating a contract he must sign when diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He didn’t heed the county’s orders to alert sexual partners that he has HIV or protect them by wearing a condom during sex, according to court records. In August, he agreed to a plea deal that spared him prison but put him under the close watch of a probation officer.
Across the state last year, health officials convicted 16 people of violating public health law. Most were infected with tuberculosis, and a trip to jail or a hospital guaranteed they would receive a treatment that would cure them.
Club DJ with HIV arrested on probation violation
A Raleigh man who pleaded guilty in August to charges that he failed to use a condom and notify sexual partners that he has HIV has been arrested on a charge that he violated the terms of his probation.
JW, 23, was arrested in April on charges brought under North Carolina Administrative Code 10-41 A.02020 (1)(a)(e), which addresses control measures regarding HIV, and North Carolina General Statute 130A-144 (f), which requires all people to comply with measures controlling communicable diseases.
A DJ in Raleigh and Wilmington, he pleaded guilty in August and received a 45-day jail sentence that was suspended and 30 months of supervised probation under the conditions that he comply with the public health laws under which he was charged.
He was also ordered to undergo a mental health and substance abuse assessment and stay away from nightclubs unless he is working.
JW was arrested Oct. 8 and was scheduled for a bond hearing Thursday. His probation hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday.
He was in jail Thursday under a $50,000 secured bond.
Raleigh man pleads guilty to public-health violation
Raleigh man received a 45-day suspended jail sentence Friday after pleading guilty to charges that he failed to use a condom and notify sexual partners that he has HIV.
JW, 23, a DJ in Raleigh and Wilmington, was also sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine, plus court costs.
He was arrested in April on charges brought under North Carolina Administrative Code 10-41 A.02020 (1)(a)(e), which addresses control measures regarding HIV, and North Carolina General Statute 130A-144 (f), which requires all people to comply with measures controlling communicable diseases.
The offenses, which ranged from Aug. 1, 2006, to April 2008, are misdemeanors in North Carolina.
“The defendant’s repeated violations of those are what brought him here today,” Wake County Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger said Friday.
As part of his probation, he must pay a $300 fine, plus court costs, and comply with the public health laws under which he was charged. He must also undergo a mental health and substance abuse assessment and stay away from nightclubs unless he is working.
Zellinger said that if he violates his probation, he could be quarantined for up to two years.
Last Friday, District Judge James Fullwood continued the case after his attorney, Evonne Hopkins, tried to have court proceedings closed, saying the case is a sensitive matter and that exposing medical information might violate medical privacy laws.
Although she would not speak about the specifics in his case, Gibby Harris, director of the Wake County Public Health Department, said patients diagnosed with a communicable disease, such as HIV, must agree to a no-contact order so that the disease will not spread.
Criminal charges are a last resort, she said, if patients don’t comply.
“Part of the issue, I do believe, is that people have started to believe that HIV is a chronic disease. It used to be that it was a death sentence,” she said. “We’re having difficulty educating our younger community about this.”
Zellinger said he hopes the case will be a wake-up call for others.
“When you think about it, somebody’s lives have been changed irreparably by this defendant’s actions,” he said. “Having a cavalier attitude about following public health laws can’t really be tolerated because other people are put in harm’s way.”
Attorney wants closed court for client's health-law case
The case of a Raleigh man charged with a public health violation was continued Friday after his attorney said she does not want the matter heard in open court.
JW, 23, was arrested in April on charges stemming from North Carolina General Statute 130A-144 (f), which requires all people to comply with measures controlling communicable diseases, and North Carolina Administrative Code 10-41 A.02020 (1)(a)(e), which addresses control measures regarding HIV.
According to an arrest warrant, the alleged offenses ranged from Aug. 1, 2006, to the present. He is out of jail on a $50,000 bond.
His attorney, Evonne Hopkins, tried to have a judge close proceedings Friday morning when he was in court for what was to have been a plea deal with prosecutors. She said it is a sensitive matter and that exposing medical information might violate medical privacy laws.
“The Americans With Disabilities Act, HIPAA – I’m concerned about State Bar consequences. I am highly alarmed,” Hopkins said. She referred to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law that guards patients’ privacy.
After several hours of delays and arguments, District Court Judge James Fullwood agreed to continue the case until next Friday.
“We recognize the sensitivity of this issue,” Wake County Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger said. “We’re not out to get anyone.”
According to court documents, the Wake County Public Health Department reported him to the district attorney’s office.
Although she said she could not talk specifically about his case, director Gibby Harris said that, in general, the agency has a responsibility to monitor people with communicable diseases to make sure they don’t spread them.
“Our intent is to change behavior,” Harris said.
When a person is diagnosed with a communicable disease, such as HIV, health officials ask the person to supply a list of people they have had contact with so those people can be notified.
Harris said the patient is initially given an isolation/no-contact order not to spread the disease.
If they fail to comply, they are first warned, Harris said. Criminal charges are a last resort.
“If we see someone who just can’t comply for one reason or another or just will not comply, then we do have the option of prosecuting that individual,” Harris said.
Overall, there were 229 documented cases of HIV in Wake County last year, down 31 from 2006. Three-quarters of the patients were men.