NY court: HIV-infected man's saliva not a weapon

Jesse Owen / via Flickr.com
June 7, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's top court says the saliva of an HIV-infected man who bit a police officer doesn't constitute a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument under state law.

In dismissing the aggravated assault conviction of David Plunkett, the Court of Appeals is sending the case back to a lower court for resentencing.

The 48-year-old Plunkett is serving a 10-year sentence at Sing Sing after pleading guilty to assault and aggravated assault on an officer. He had punched the officer and bit his finger in 2006 at a medical clinic in the Mohawk Valley village of Illion.

The court says saliva should be treated the same as teeth, which it concluded previously don't qualify as dangerous instruments.

Federal health officials say HIV transmissions from bites are "very rare."

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved.