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Commonwealth v. Ortiz



A single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion strongly affirming the absolute privacy of a person’s HIV status under Massachusetts law. In this case, in which GLAD filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of itself and AIDS Action Committee, Justice Martha Sosman overturned an order from the Springfield District Court that a criminal defendant disclose to police officers whether he is HIV+, after an arrest that involved contact with the defendant’s blood. The ruling is important not only for the affirmation of privacy rights, but also because it puts to rest arguments that there should be “implied exceptions” to our confidentiality statute.