In September, I broke the story of Shalandra Jones. Jones is a Detroit area woman living with HIV. In August she was party to a traffic stop in Dearborn, Mich. During the stop, the officer, David Lacey, removed both Jones and her friend Scott from the vehicle and searched it. During the search, Lacey discovered that Jones was HIV-positive because he found her medications. He then tells both Scott and Jones he is ticketing them because she did not disclose her HIV-positive status to him and he was “aggravated” by that. Mind you, she had no legal obligation to disclose her HIV status to the officer.
Well, her ticket was for possession of marijuana. It’s a misdemeanor charge and it was issued because she had medical marijuana and an expired medical marijuana card from the state. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act provides for at least two separate defenses against prosecution for those with cards, and those with qualifying medical conditions. Testing positive for HIV is a qualifying condition in Michigan.
Prosecutors in Dearborn, however, are continuing to pursue criminal charges, and here’s why:
DEARBORN, MICH. – Dearborn prosecutors are continuing to pursue a marijuana possession charge against an HIV-positive woman because she refuses to waive her right to sue the city over alleged discrimination, the woman’s attorneys say.
The woman, Shalandra Jones, was ticketed by a Dearborn police officer on Aug. 3 for possession of marijuana. The officer told Jones he was ticketing her because he was “aggravated” that she had not disclosed her HIV-positive status when he searched the car.
“The city attorney has clearly stated that they will pursue these frivolous charges against Ms. Jones until which time she signs a waiver of civil liability against the City of Dearborn,” says Joshua Moore, an attorney representing Jones.
Moore made the statement Tuesday following a third hearing at Dearborn’s 19th District Court.
You can read the rest of this story here.
And you can read the original investigation story here.
And here is the original dash board camera footage released by Dearborn: