Published February, 2024

United States v. Tennessee and TBI, U.S. District Court for Western District of Tennessee (February 15, 2024)

First page of complaint

On February 15, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Bureau of Administration (TBI) for their maintenance and administration of the aggravated prostitution offense and its associated sex offender registry requirement. 

In its complaint, the DOJ reiterated its previous conclusion that the aggravated prostitution law subjects people living with HIV to harsher criminal penalties solely because of their positive HIV status, regardless of any actual risk of harm. Additionally, the DOJ again explained the lasting and significant consequences of registration on the sex offense registry (SOR). The DOJ similarly requested several remedies, including requiring Tennessee to stop enforcement of the statute and registration requirements, remove folks solely convicted of aggravated prostitution from the registry, expunge all records of conviction or registration for aggravated prostitution, and compensate all convicted folks for court fines and fees. 

This suit follows the December 1, 2023, DOJ letter, which found that the aggravated prostitution offense violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The DOJ findings letter was a result of complaints filed by CHLP in January 2022.