A Douglas County judge will not dismiss charges against a Lawrence man accused of exposing women to HIV, and the man now faces a new HIV charge in Wyandotte County.
Judge Stephen Six ruled in a decision dated Friday that the state's HIV-exposure law is not unconstitutionally vague or overly broad - a ruling that means trial will go forward in Douglas County for 30-year-old Robert W. Richardson II. The decision was not available for public view until Wednesday.
"Clearly, the state of Kansas has a rational basis to regulate and criminalize sexual conduct involving persons who have tested positive for HIV and may subject others to the risk of contracting the potentially life-threatening disease," Six wrote.
Richardson had argued that the law was vague because it didn't define key terms, such as what it means to "expose" someone to HIV or what is a "life-threatening disease."
But Six wrote that it's up to a jury to decide whether the law applies to his case.
The challenge to the law's legality caused a jury trial originally set to have started last month to be postponed at the last minute. Richardson's next court date is Sept. 13.
He is charged with exposing four women to HIV in Douglas County in the past year through sexual contact. In addition, he faces similar charges in Johnson County, Mo., and in Lyon County.
An arrest warrant in the new case out of Wyandotte County was served on Richardson during the weekend at the Douglas County Jail, where Richardson is incarcerated as he awaits trial. The woman pressing charges in the Wyandotte County case is one who also has pressed charges in Douglas County.