For more than a year, 3rd Circuit judges have been ordering AIDS testing for people convicted of disorderly sexual conduct in public or soliciting sex.
And the American Civil Liberties Union wants it stopped.The order for mandatory AIDS tests, according to the ACLU, violates the offender's constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
But the presiding circuit court judge says the AIDS-testing policy is a reasonable precaution to protect society from a deadly risk.
ACLU spokeswoman Michele Parish-Pixler said Tuesday, "It is clear that a pattern has emerged in (the) circuit court system whereby judges are summarily ordering HIV testing whenever a defendant has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude."
Parish-Pixler is helping fight a legal battle in behalf of Steven D. Barrows, 29, who pleaded guilty June 23 to charges he committed a disorderly sexual act in the restroom of a downtown mall on June 14.
Before sentencing Barrows, 3rd Circuit Judge Eleanor Van Sciver ordered that he submit to a HIV test at the Salt Lake City-County Health Department.
Barrows was also ordered to sign a document that would release the test results to the court and absolve the court of any liability resulting from that release, Parish-Pixler said.
Brad Rich, Barrows' attorney, on Tuesday planned to file an "extraordinary writ" in 3rd District Court, seeking that the circuit court's policy be found unconstitutional.
"My client feels very strongly that it's an invasion of his privacy," said Rich. "He feels that, as an American, he shouldn't be forced to give a blood test simply because he was charged and convicted of a misdemeanor."
Rich said it also concerns Barrows that there's no protection on the AIDS test results. "Who knows where the results could go?" Rich said. "To have that publicly available with minimum protection offends him as it does me."
Presiding 3rd Circuit Judge Floyd Gowans disagrees with the ACLU's assertions that the AIDS-testing policy is unconstitutional.
"We think once an individual has been convicted of an offense," Gowans said, "certain things can be required under the law to protect society."