MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Hennepin County judge sentenced Monday a man who was convicted of having unprotected sex knowing all the while he was HIV-positive.

This is the first case of knowingly transferring an infectious disease that has successfully been prosecuted in Minnesota. But that victory may have been overshadowed by the sentence the judge handed down.

The county judged sentenced 30-year-old Daniel Rick to 180 days in a workhouse and five years probation, even though the guidelines for first-degree assault carry the penalty for 49 months in prison.

“Rarely do we express our disappointment,” said Hennepin County attorney Michael Freeman. “We are doing so today.”

Freeman said the judge gave out too mild of a sentence.

Rick was convicted of the attempted transfer of sperm to another individual, but his attorney, Landon Ascheman, said he was convicted for being HIV positive and not wearing a condom when having sex.

“The jury found that the state did not prove that that individual was unaware that he was HIV positive. So, in other words, Mr. Rick did tell the other party that he was HIV-positive,” Ascheman said.

Ascheman is challenging the constitutionality of the statute that led to his client’s conviction. He said that because of the way the statute is written, it convicts anyone who is HIV-positive for having sex.

“If there are two individuals who … both have HIV, they can both be convicted for having unprotected sex according to the interpretation of this statute.”

Freeman, on the other hand, said the statute is constitutional and that the legislature would not have passed it otherwise. He also noted that it exists in other states.

Rick left the courtroom a free man Monday as his attorney is appealing the conviction. Ascheman has 90 days to file his appeal. During that time Rick is required to complete 60 of his 120 hours of assigned community service.

At the time of writing, there are two similar cases pending in Hennepin County against Rick involving three different people.

Reg Chapman

Comments (21)
  1. Jake says:

    The judge is a JOKE of a jurist, and should be thrown off the BENCH ASAP. This perp loser is a weapon of mass destruction, and his ‘sentance’ was a SLAP IN THE FACE to all decent, law-abiding citizens. Freeman should appeal the sentance to the SC.

    1. Dawn says:

      There are guidelines to sentencing. The judge enforces laws. The judge does not make laws. Every decision is subject to review.

      What we need is a law that defines knowingly spreading AIDS a crime that merits a more severe punishment.

  2. ez says:

    That judge should be removed from office. I hope when his election comes up the people vote him out.

  3. Tree Hugger says:

    Even if 3 HIV + had unprotected relations they shouldn’t. There are different strands of the virus and they can attach differently. Also, this sentence is bull, they call it an assault, I’m sorry a black eye goes away, HIV does not. This should be attempted man slaughter. He is a horrible person that knowingly infected another person so he can get his wiggle on. He should at least get a year and have to pay all of the medical costs associated with the other persons treatment.

    1. Just a thought... says:

      Don’t condone his nasty behavior what-so-ever, but guess EVERYONE should be more careful who they bed down with! You know the ‘ol saying…”When you lay down with the dogs, you’re bound to get fleas.”

      Maybe actually KNOWING the person you choose to be intimate with, should not be so under-rated after all?

      1. It's a slippery slope. says:

        I agree with you. HIV has been around since the 80s. Everyone should be educated by now on the transmission of this disease. I see patients everyday that have HIV and believe me, you cannot tell by looking at someone if they are positive or negative.

        Maybe someday women who have HIV and pass it on to her unborn child will be prosecuted as well.

  4. See BS says:

    Strange how the Minnesota Court System will throw a massage therapist in prison for 11 years for slapping a “Repeat” customer on the backside.

    And this guy knowingly transmits a lifelong diesease to someone and gets a few months in prison.

    So much for “Equal Protection”

  5. Deep Thinker says:

    Gee this dirt bags dirt bag lawyer is fighting over a technicality & not the fact that his client is a pig……95% of all defense attorneys are losers

    1. hate the system says:

      defense lawyers will save your butt someday, even if you are a law abiding citizen something might happen where your in the wrong place at the wrong time and need a lawyer.. won’t be saying this anymore after that… lol at 95% of lawyers being losers because they are doing their job

    2. Bad Law says:

      Not really a technicality. The guy was convicted for having unprotected sex with another guy. The other guy even knew he was HIV positive. If the other guy knew and still wanted to have sex with him, why is this even a crime?

      Even people with STDs should be allowed to have sex if the other person is ok with it.

  6. TL the alligator says:

    Lawyers ARE dirt bags because of the fees that they charge at the very least…..there are many other attributes that qualify them for the term as well. where is the transparency?….why isn’t the derelict judge named?….is that not relevant?…..this POS should have gotten the full sentence allowed by law for his criminal act of attempted manslaughter. That a judge handed down this sentence and has now created a precedent is despicable…that judge should be emmediately removed.

    1. peace says:

      But what if these two crazy kids are in love, don’t they have a right to have sex the way they want to? If you want to have unprotected sex, there’s lots of risks you are taking.

    2. Drew says:

      Fees are a function of supply and demand and usually justified. Not everyone is educated and skilled enough to be a doctor, or lawyer or rocket scientist – just like not everyone can be a famous actor, musician or athlete. The only difference is sometimes everyone THINKS they can be a lawyer. There are dirtbags in any line of work. High fees alone do not make someone a dirtbag. As with most services, you get what you pay for. Also, rulings do not become precedent unless rendered by an appeals court or higher. The more you know. Thanks!

  7. just sayin says:

    I hope this guy gets what he deserves man…
    what a piece of trash.

  8. Curious George says:

    Right now their are several postings on craigslist of a HIV+ guy looking for sex. Is this OK? Who in their right mind would take that chance? Is this attempted assault ? Condoms don’t always work!

  9. Judgement Day says:

    Why worry about someone elses problem, if they choose to have unprotected sex, well that’s their business.

  10. BlackMan says:

    Whites follow what’s written on paper. Can this judge make up a law so that this guy can stay in jail and die there? I don’t think any Minnesota’s go protest for the judge making up a new law!!!

  11. Just an onlooker says:

    Did any of you sit in the court room? You’re relying on this reporter to get the facts straight, and often they never do. Just remember, prosecutors rarely minus their own prejudice, hate towards others and their emotions. It’s their job to put people in jail, guilty or not and often innocent people sit in jail but the prosecutor thinks he did a great job as he get’s his career a boost. Don’t think for a second this prosecutor has exactly his career on his list for this case.

    Bottom line, 2 consenting adults should be left at that. When one later second guesses their choice, they shouldn’t be allowed to charge just one adult. They should prosecute both consenting adults. This poorly written law protects no one.

    1. Agree with onlooker says:

      I agree with you onlooker. Everyone can point their finger at the judge…what about the consenting parties involved.

      Should the 2 consenting adults not have the total and complete accountability for their actions?? I certainly think so! Don’t want diseases?…then know who you bring into your bed.

  12. carrieblackshaw says:

    The bottom line is that two parties were involved. Why didn’t the other guy protect himself during sex? We live in a day and age of SUBSTANTIAL information! One withheld, the other ignored! The recipient knew his risks and chose to ignore them…. The provider, chose to infect. You should assume that anyone you are having casual sex with, especially hook-ups is HIV or has an STD. PROTECT YOURSELF FIRST.