U.S. v. Sargeant, 29 M.J. 812 (A.C.M.R. 1989)

Court and Agency Decisions and Orders (including case law)

This U.S. Army Court of Military Review decision affirmed the convictions of an HIV positive Sergeant in the U.S. Army of willful disobedience of a "safe-sex" order issued by his commander to disclose his HIV status to and wear condoms with sexual partners. The court rejected Sargeant's argument that the safe-sex order was an excessive intrusion on his right to privacy.

On appeal, he argued that the safe-sex order was unlawful because it excessively intruded on his right to privacy. The court reviewed the record of trial and rejected the claim that the safe-sex order was unlawful, citing Roe v. Wade as an example of permissible constitutional regulation of a private activity, and declaring that the order had the valid military purpose of maintaining "the health and welfare of the unit." The court also cited Womack, pointing out in a footnote that even if Sargeant's sexual partners had not also been enlisted, "the military has a proper interest in taking reasonable steps to ensure that its soldiers who have the AIDS virus do not infect their sexual partners, regardless of their status.

 

 

 

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