By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com February 15 2001 12:00 AM ET
A man whose blood splattered a Springfield, Mass., police officer when he was arrested last month should not have to disclose whether he has HIV, defense lawyers told a state supreme court justice Wednesday. He does have an absolute right to confidentiality, attorney James Pepe Jr., who represents Luis Ortiz, told the court. But a prosecutor said that the lower court judge should be able to weigh Ortizs privacy interests against the need for the officers to know if Ortiz is infected with the virus. They are concerned about their personal health, their safety, said Elizabeth Dunphy Farris, an assistant district attorney in Hampden County. Ortiz allegedly lunged at officers with a knife and was shot in a January 22 incident at his apartment. He is in county jail awaiting a bail hearing on charges of assault and battery, witness intimidation, armed assault with intent to murder, and assault and battery on a police officer. Justice Martha Sosman promised a swift ruling on the disclosure matter.