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State v. Hinkhouse

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Defendant, Timothy Hinkhouse, was indicted on 10 counts of sexual assault and attempted murder after he internationally engaged in sexual intercourse with women while knowing he was HIV positive.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    If a criminal defendant who has been diagnosed with the HIV virus and proceeds to have sexual intercourse with other individuals without disclosing the virus, can be convicted of attempted murder and sexual assault.

    Facts.

    Hinkhouse learned that he had been diagnosed with HIV but nonetheless continued having sexual intercourse with various women without disclosing that he was diagnosed with the deadly virus. Even when he was asked if he was HIV positive, he would deny being so. Hinkhouse’s probation officer informed and educated him about the deadly consequences of the virus and how one sexual encounter with another individual could cause them to contract the virus. Despite stating that he understood the information, he continued to have sexual intercourse with women without disclosing the virus or using any protection. He agreed to submit in writing to his probation officer whenever he had a sexual encounter, but failed to do so. Hinkhouse was indicted on several counts of attempted murder and sexual assault. At trial, Hinkhouse moved for a judgment of acquittal based on expert testimony that showed Hinkhouse had a personality disorder that caused him to ignore all the possible consequences of the HIV virus.

    Issue.

    Whether a criminal defendant who has been diagnosed with the HIV virus and proceeds to have sexual intercourse with other individuals without disclosing the virus, can be convicted of attempted murder and sexual assault?

    Held.

    Yes. A criminal defendant who has been diagnosed with the HIV virus and proceeds to have sexual intercourse with other individuals without disclosing the virus, can be convicted of attempted murder and sexual assault.

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    If a criminal defendant engages in an activity, which is a substantial step toward the commission of a crime, then it follows that they will be guilty of that crime.  For a defendant to be guilty of assault, they must cause physical injury with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Additionally, a criminal defendant can be found guilty of attempted murder if they internationally try and cause the death of another individual, without any sort of justification. Here, when Hinkhouse intentionally engaged in sexual intercourse with various individuals without disclosing the deadly virus, he intended to cause physical injury and death upon those individuals. He knew about the disease, its deadly consequences, and withheld that information from his sexual partners. Accordingly, he intended to cause his sexual partners bodily harm and death. 


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