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Targeted for being HIV-positive? Protesters gather outside Cass Co. man’s hearing

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CASSOPOLIS, Mich. — What began as minor traffic violation may turn into prison time for Corey Rangel. He says he was pulled over in March for driving with a loud muffler. However days later he was kicked out of a drug treatment program, and Monday was his probation hearing.

Rangel believes the hearing had nothing to do with his driving and everything to do with his HIV status.

“All I can say is when that was in question, when my status was in question, that’s when everything changed,” said Rangel, surrounded by supporters who were protesting his hearing. “That’s when everything did a 180. And that's how all this unfolded.”

Rangel said when he was pulled over in March, he was cited with two civil infractions: one for not wearing his corrective lenses, and the other for not having proof of insurance. After the incident, he told his probation officer about what happened. The officer informed him that because he had been doing so well in the treatment program — returning to school full-time and landing a steady job — it would be overlooked.

Everything changed before the day was over.

“A few hours later, adult treatment, which is like another layer of supervision in my probation, got a hold of my probation officer and informed him that they in fact believe I should be violated for this,” said Rangel.

Rangel said he was also told that the treatment program was going to turn over his phone to a police officer and that he would be brought in to custody. The next day, an officer read him his rights and asked about a few personal pictures in his phone. The officer then proceeded to call a few contacts in his phone and asked if they knew about Rangel’s HIV status. The officer submitted a report regarding his findings that his contacts were aware of Rangel's status. However, in court he was told by the treatment program that he was being deceitful for not disclosing his HIV status in violation of a 1989 Michigan law.

"I willingly gave up my phone. I don’t have anything to hide," said Rangel. "I think where it got tricky is where they started disclosing my status to people. And so that’s when everything changed."

Rangel is facing four years in prison for violating probation and for previous drug charges. His attorney Blair Johnson requested an adjournment.

"Any probation violation, any terms of rules or probation that Mr. Rangel may be accused of, simply were never put in this affidavit," said Johnson. "That is his sole reason for being here is because he was expelled from the adult treatment court. And again, records for which I never received, he never received, didn’t have the benefit of when he was in front of Judge Renfro on [March] 18."

Judge Renfro handles the adult treatment program which Rangel was a part of. Judge Michael Dodge granted their request. Court will be delayed two to three weeks.

Despite what's going on, Rangel said he's optimistic about his future.

"I just hope they recognize how hard I’ve been working in the past year and I just wanted to be treated with respect and equally," said Rangel.

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  • Andrew

    Someone needs to hire a competent writer. Let me see if I can follow the logic here:
    1. Getting kicked out of the treatment program is a violation of probation.
    2. He got kicked out and is being sent back to jail.
    3. He is arguing that he was kicked out wrongfully, and with discrimination.
    4. He is not disputing that he was driving without proof of insurance or without his corrective lenses, both also probation violations for which he rightfully ought to be sent back to jail, but which his PO decided to cut him slack on.
    5. Whether Rangel disclosed his HIV status to the treatment program seems to be in question. If he didn’t, then they are right to drop him from the program and send him back to jail for violating the 1989 law requiring you to disclose your HIV status to medical treatment facilities.
    6. If Rangel did disclose his HIV status according to the law, then the question seems to be one of whether the treatment program has the authority to override the decision of the PO to overlook the driving violations. If they have that authority, then there is little Rangel can do except do his time.

    I think that about covers it except for two things:
    1. It seems clear from his behavior that Rangel’s time in jail has still not imbued him with proper respect for the law. Despite being on probation he willingly disregarded the law requiring him to have insurance on his vehicle and to wear glasses/contacts while driving. He put the public in danger, however slight that danger may have been, and failed to provide the financial means to cover any damage that might occur from his use of a motor vehicle, which is ultimately no different than stealing from the public. He needs to spend more time in jail, in hopes that such additional time will provide him with FULL respect for the law, rather than mere lip service and a cursory show.
    2. The second thing is that his HIV status is HIPAA-protected information. The treatment program’s actions may be in violation of Federal law even if Rangel did not disclose his status to them. So we may have a whole big cluster fork of wrongness going on here, by people who ought to know better. Sadly, two wrongs don’t make a right, and Rangel is likely headed back to jail while the treatment program will merely get a strongly worded letter from one of Obama’s insurance flunkies.

    And now, in order to provide full and complete disclosure of the status of this website, I must inform you all that Fox17 is guilty of giving its viewers Toilet Aids: https://fox17online.com/2016/04/04/made-by-moms-freedom-wand/

    • Yup

      Lol, reading your article proved much less head straining than reading FOX’s interns garbage. Trying to lean so far left for a news organization has got to be painful to say the least versus just reporting the truth

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