North Dakota Man Gets 8 Years in Jail for Spreading HIV

Angel Miguel Rodriguez from Williston, North Dakota was sentenced to eight years in prison for spreading HIV. Rodriguez entered an Alford plea, thus maintaining his innocence. Read more about Rodriguez’s case here.

Man Sentenced for Spreading HIV

Angel Miguel Rodriguez, 42, was facing a class A felony charge of transferring body fluid that may contain HIV. Police records show that Rodriguez was arrested in September 2017. 

A woman Rodriguez dated in 2016, with whom he had unprotected sex, tested positive for HIV, following which she contacted police, alleging that Rodriguez never told her he was HIV positive.

According to Williams County State’s Attorney Marlyce Wilder, when the woman was dating Rodriguez, someone said that he “had AIDS.” When she asked Rodriguez if it was true, he reportedly said, “Probably not.”

A detective found that Rodriguez admitted to being HIV positive to officers at Williams County Jail in November 2015.

Rodriguez Enters Alford Plea

Rodriguez entered an Alford plea, as per a deal offered by prosecutors. The woman didn’t attend the hearing on April 10, nor did she submit a victim impact statement. However, she was consulted about the agreement between prosecutors and Rodriguez’s defense team.

An Alford guilty plea is named after the 1970 U.S. Supreme Court case of North Carolina v. Alford. The doctrine wherein the defendant maintains his or her innocence, but admits the evidence piled against them would likely make him or her look guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

By entering an Alford plea, Rodriguez maintains his innocence despite being sentenced. His public defender, Rhiannon Gorham, said her client disagreed with some of the prosecution’s claims. Nevertheless, he agreed to the deal.

Northwest District Judge Kirsten Sjue sentenced Rodriguez to 10 years in prison. With two years suspended, his sentence now amounts to eight years.

Rodriguez spent 453 days in prison following his arrest for which he will be credited . Upon release, he’ll be on supervised probation for five years.

“At some point, the victim in this case needs to have closure in this matter,” Wilder said. “And I hope that she finds peace in the fact Mr. Rodriguez has been sentenced to a considerable amount of time.”

Rhiannon Gorham said Rodriguez understood the seriousness of the charge, despite hoping for a lighter sentence.