CNN HEADLINE NEWS WITH ROBIN MEADE
ROBIN MEADE: Do you see any passengers who traveled with this guy taking him to court especially if they catch TB?
KENDALL COFFEY: Absolutely, and as a personal injury lawyer himself, he ought to know a lot better than this. If his act of getting on the plane exposing other passengers causes somebody to actually contract TB, he’s in a heap of trouble with a civil lawsuit. Interestingly though, Robin, apparently no criminal law is violated even if you get on a plane knowing you’ve got tuberculosis.
ROBIN MEADE: Isn’t it the same thing if someone had AIDS and knew they had AIDS and their partner didn’t know it-couldn’t they be prosecuted? Isn’t there a precedent here?
KENDALL COFFEY: Different states have different statutes. But unless there is an order, as a general matter, unless there’s an order that’s been put in effect by a health authority telling somebody you’ve got to be isolated, you’ve got to be quarantined, they can go out, get on a plane, sit in a car and there is no criminal violation. It’s an interesting opportunity to look in whether there are some real serious weaknesses in some of the laws we have here because a lot of these things have not been modernized for decades in terms of exposure to disease.
ROBIN MEADE: On his side, couldn’t he take it to the court then for this quarantine because civil liberty groups are saying -hey the county really shouldn’t have quarantined him?
KENDALL COFFEY: Yeah, I think he does have some opportunities to argue the point in part because a lot of the laws are old-they don’t account for all the due process rights. And a lot of the basic structure for disease control is old laws, antiquated laws – some of the framework goes back to quarantines for the plague in the Middle Ages. In this global age of exposure to worldwide diseases, It is clearly time to modernize this system for disease control and prevention.
ROBIN MEADE: Jack Kevorkian is going to be a free man today. Is it a probation violation if this guy still pushes for assisted suicide but doesn’t take part in them like he says he’s going to do
KENDALL COFFEY: It absolutely could get him back in the slammer. While to many people he’s a champion of a cause, from the standpoint of law enforcement he’s a criminal, in fact, a murderer in the second-degree. So he’s got to walk on the straight and narrow if at age 79 he wants to remain at liberty.