Thursday, March 26, 2009

DA will not prosecute 73-year old Chaplain if HIV and Hep C prevention program passes

As reported by USA Today, the LA Times and others, Bexar County (San Antonio) District Attorney Susan Reed is prosecuting 73-year-old San Antonio chaplain Bill Day for preventing the spread of HIV by removing deadly dirty needles from the community and exchanging them for clean ones. Chaplain Day currently faces one year of incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines.

Last week, Texas Senator Jeff Wentworth announced on the Senate floor that Susan Reed will dismiss the case if the Texas legislature approves the Chaplain's HIV prevention program:
"Susan Reed is the criminal District Attorney for Bexar County and she did have some difficulty with this but her office has advised my office that if this bill passes, she will not prosecute."
You can watch the video by clicking here and forwarding to 2:07:10.


Anonymous said...

You need to get your facts straight. This case is well over a year old and has a two year statute of limitations. As reported in the San Antonio Current, the DA said long ago that she was not going to prosecute Mr. Day because he had agreed to follow the law and wait until a new law was passed. If she wanted to prosecute the guy, it would have been done long ago.

Ann del Llano said...

Thanks for clarifying, Anonymous. We share your understanding that the DA agreed to hold off to see whether the legislature would clarify the law. As you point out, she has time to prosecute after session.

In 2007, the Texas legislature passed and Governor Perry signed a new law allowing pilot prevention programs in Bexar County. Bexar County DA Reed claimed that the 2007 law was poorly written so she did not have to follow it. We understand Senator Wentworth to be saying that Ms. Reed let him know that she will interpret the 2009 bill as binding.