Local News

Raleigh man pleads guilty to public-health violation

Posted August 22, 2008 2:03 p.m. EDT
Updated August 22, 2008 7:52 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man received a 45-day suspended jail sentence Friday after pleading guilty to charges that he failed to use a condom and notify sexual partners that he has HIV.

Joshua Waldon Weaver, 23, a DJ in Raleigh and Wilmington, was also sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine, plus court costs.

Weaver was arrested in April on charges brought under North Carolina Administrative Code 10-41 A.02020 (1)(a)(e), which addresses control measures regarding HIV, and North Carolina General Statute 130A-144 (f), which requires all people to comply with measures controlling communicable diseases.

The offenses, which ranged from Aug. 1, 2006, to April 2008, are misdemeanors in North Carolina.

"The defendant's repeated violations of those are what brought him here today," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger said Friday.

As part of his probation, Weaver must pay a $300 fine, plus court costs, and comply with the public health laws under which he was charged. He must also undergo a mental health and substance abuse assessment and stay away from nightclubs unless he is working.

Zellinger said that if Weaver violates his probation, he could be quarantined for up to two years.

Last Friday, District Judge James Fullwood continued the case after Weaver's attorney, Evonne Hopkins, tried to have court proceedings closed, saying the case is a sensitive matter and that exposing medical information might violate medical privacy laws.

Although she would not speak about the specifics in Weaver's case, Gibby Harris, director of the Wake County Public Health Department, said patients diagnosed with a communicable disease, such as HIV, must agree to a no-contact order so that the disease will not spread.

Criminal charges are a last resort, she said, if patients don't comply.

"Part of the issue, I do believe, is that people have started to believe that HIV is a chronic disease. It used to be that it was a death sentence," she said. "We're having difficulty educating our younger community about this."

Zellinger said he hopes the case will be a wake-up call for others.

"When you think about it, somebody's lives have been changed irreparably by this defendant's actions," he said. "Having a cavalier attitude about following public health laws can't really be tolerated because other people are put in harm's way."