Michael Johnson sent shock waves around the HIV-positive community in 2015 when the Olympic-aspiring college wrestler was arrested under Missouri’s HIV criminalization laws, and charged for “recklessly infecting another with HIV,” and for counts of “recklessly risking infection of another with HIV,” as Plus previously reported.
Johnson’s trial was ridden with racism, homophobia, and ignorance from the start — even from his own defense council. His lawyer’s opening words to the jury were apparently, “You have to consider my client guilty until proven otherwise.” The judge reportedly corrected the public defender by saying, "I believe you meant to say 'innocent.'"
The jury took only a few hours to deliberate, before sentencing Johnson to 30.5 years.
Thankfully, last December the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed his conviction based on the prosecution’s failure to turn over important evidence on time. This can be new beginning for Johnson, but he needs our help.
In order for Johnson to truly get a second chance, he needs the best legal counsel available at his new trial — one that doesn’t think his client is “guilty until proven otherwise.”
The new trial date has not been set yet, but what we do know is that Johnson needs to raise $20,000 in 20 days. According to his funding page on Funded Justice, the money will be used to hire a private attorney that has the experience, background, and passion to help him fight the HIV criminalization laws in Missouri.
Any and all amount of monies will be one step toward justice.
To donate, please CLICK HERE.