- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a man who pleaded guilty in 2009 to the criminal transmission of HIV and who must remain a registered sex offender for life.

The high court will hear the case of 39-year-old Nick Rhoades, an HIV-positive Iowan who had a one-time sexual encounter in 2008 with another man and was later convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison, The Des Moines Register reported Saturday (http://dmreg.co/1ayb6oA ).

Iowa passed a law in 1998 that makes it a felony for someone with HIV to engage in intimate contact with another person. That is defined as the intentional exposure of the body of one person to a bodily fluid of another person in a manner that could result in the transmission of HIV. The law does not require that the other party become infected.

Rhoades had a sexual encounter in June 2008 with a man he met in an online chat room. Rhoades drove from his home in Waverly to the man’s home in Cedar Falls, where the encounter took place. Within days, the man learned from a friend that Rhoades had HIV and contacted police. The man has tested negative for HIV, but he supported Rhoades‘ prosecution.

Rhoades eventually pleaded guilty to a felony count of criminally transmitting HIV, and a judge sentenced him to the maximum 25 years in prison. The judge reconsidered after an outcry and resentenced Rhoades to the time he had already served - 18 months. Rhoades is on probation and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Rhoades appealed his conviction, saying his defense attorney did not fully understand the law and should have never advised him to plead guilty.

Last October, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld Rhoades‘ conviction, and he appealed to the state’s Supreme Court.

Rhoades argues he did not intentionally expose the other man to bodily fluids in a way that could have transmitted HIV because he practiced safe sex by using a condom.

___

Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com