Saturday, June 29, 2013
Updated: Friday, 28 Jun 2013, 6:41 PM EDT Published : Friday, 28 Jun 2013, 7:14 AM EDT
MAYVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - A New York drug dealer imprisoned in the 1990s amid accusations he infected 13 young women with HIV lost his bid for freedom Friday despite having completed his sentence more than two years ago.
A jury in western New York found that Nushawn Williams, 36, suffers from a mental abnormality that makes him subject to "civil management" and will either be confined to a secure treatment facility or kept under strict supervision, according to the attorney general's office.
"With this determination, Mr. Williams will get the treatment he needs and the citizens of New York will be safer," said Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The Chautauqua County jury deliberated for just over an hour. A hearing will be held to determine Williams' level of management.
Williams, who now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson, completed a 12-year sentence for statutory rape and reckless endangerment in 2010.
But state officials sought his continued imprisonment and described him as a mentally disturbed, sex-obsessed drug user likely to infect more women if set free. A psychologist's report said Williams targeted vulnerable young women who were underage and/or drug addicted and "used charm and coercion to secure sexual contact."
Before the trial's start, Williams' lawyer John Nuchereno claimed that a new test showed that Williams isn't HIV positive. Nuchereno argued that without HIV, Williams is not a danger and should be freed.
Posted by Seth Kalichman at 10:25 AM
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
By Jay Tokasz | The Buffalo News
June 8, 2013
Nushawn Williams, the Jamestown man who gained national notoriety when accused of spreading the virus that causes AIDS, remains behind bars more than 15 years after his criminal offenses in Chautauqua County.
But when a 20-year-old Buffalo man admitted in 2011 to having unprotected sex with four young women and a 15-year-old girl while knowing he was infected with HIV, he was sentenced to a year in jail for his crimes.
“It was similar enough to say, ‘My God, the treatment was so different,’ ” said John R. Nuchereno, defense attorney for Williams.
Williams, now 36, was supposed to be freed in 2010, upon completing a 12-year sentence for a statutory rape and reckless endangerment conviction.
Yet, three years later, he remains in Wende State Correctional Facility because the state attorney general contends Williams is a sexual predator likely to infect others with HIV.
The trial, while not open to the public, is expected to draw plenty of interest, both from civil liberties groups troubled by the state’s civil confinement policy and from various HIV and AIDS organizations intrigued by the potential legal impacts of the case.
Nuchereno already has made the stunning claim in a pretrial hearing that Williams does not have HIV, based on a recent electron microscope analysis of his blood by the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.
The contention appears likely to be a crux of Williams’ defense, which is being aided by the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice, a nonprofit organization based in Studio City, Calif.
The group runs the HIV Innocence Project and has used electron microscopy results in military trials to help defend soldiers accused of transmitting the virus to sexual partners.
G. Baron Coleman, an Alabama lawyer connected with the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice who has represented several soldiers, is expected to assist Nuchereno in at least a portion of his defense of Williams.
Lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office questioned the legitimacy of the electron microscope test and asked State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski to allow them to do their own analysis of Williams’ blood.
Rules of law prohibited Michalski from agreeing to the request.
But several medical professionals and HIV experts contacted by The News said the electron microscope was not an accepted method for finding HIV or for monitoring a patient infected with the virus.
“Electron microscopy is not, never has been and never will be an appropriate, relevant or approved way to detect HIV in the blood. Indeed, it’s beyond silly suggesting it could, would or should be used for this purpose,” said John Moore, professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
‘A little bit out of left field’
Williams’ blood was analyzed in April by Gregory M. Hendricks, manager of the Core Electron Microscopy Facility at the UMass Medical School, who found “no evidence” of HIV, according to a letter he sent to the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice.
Dr. Joseph S. Cervia, clinical professor of medicine and pediatrics at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, noted that blood tests screening for the presence of HIV antibodies have been used reliably for years to determine whether someone has HIV.
HIV, AIDS ‘denialists’
Seth Kalichman, an HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment researcher, expressed concern that the startling legal strategy in the Williams case will mislead people about accepted science with regard to diagnosing and treating HIV.
The Office of Medical and Scientific Justice and its executive director, Clark Baker, are HIV and AIDS denialists, Kalichman said.
And he said their efforts are potentially damaging to public health.
“They have no credibility. They’re not really scientists at all,” Kalichman said.
The organization has become adept at trying to manipulate juries in court-martial cases by raising suspicions about HIV tests and the influence of big pharmaceutical companies, he said.
And that’s potentially destructive, because some people who test HIV positive can’t deal with the reality and will seek out the misinformation put out by AIDS denialists as a source of comfort, said Kalichman.
“These guys provide them with a way out,” he said. “There have been people who have died because they listened to these people.”
Posted by Seth Kalichman at 8:34 AM