Lawyers for Nushawn Williams, the Jamestown man accused of intentionally spreading the virus that causes AIDS, will be allowed to offer evidence at his civil trial indicating he is not infected with HIV.
State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski on Wednesday denied a request by the state Attorney General’s Office for a hearing to try and block a jury from hearing evidence that Williams’ blood, when analyzed under an electron microscope, did not contain the virus.
Michalski’s ruling means that the reliability of the electron microscope at detecting HIV is likely to come under intense questioning from the state’s lawyers during the trial.
Attorney John R. Nuchereno, who is representing Williams, first made the claim that Williams does not have HIV in May, following an electron microscope analysis of his blood conducted by Gregory Hendricks, manager of the Core Electron Microscopy Facility at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Assistant Attorney General Joseph Muia Jr. arguedw in court papers this week that the use of an electron microscope for that purpose was “junk science” and “would confuse the deliberative process.”
Muia included affidavits from William A. Samsonoff, former director of the Electron Microscope Core at the Wadsworth Center Laboratories of the state Health Department, and from Dr. Harish Moorjani, an HIV specialist in internal medicine.
Samsonoff said relying on an electron microscope to conclude someone is not HIV positive was “an inappropriate misleading use of a scientific result and is not and would not be accepted in either the scientific medical community or the smaller professional sub-category of electron microscope analysts as a scientifically accepted procedure or test for HIV.”
Moorjani labeled electron microscope analysis “the poorest technique for one to use to identify whether an individual is infected with HIV.”
Several jurors have been selected for the trial to determine whether Williams, 36, has a mental abnormality that makes him predisposed to commit sexual crimes. Jury selection continues today, and opening arguments are expected to begin on Monday.
The trial is closed to the public.
Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree (statutory) rape and one count of reckless endangerment in 1999, after authorities said he infected 12 young Chautauqua County women and a teenage girl, with HIV.
Williams completed his 12-year prison sentence in 2010, but he continues to be held in Wende State Correctional Facility under a state law that permits civil confinement of sex offenders.
The Attorney General’s Office has sought to keep Williams confined, arguing that he is a sexual predator who is likely to infect others with HIV.
Williams, 36, now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson.