California TB patient denied release from jail

San Joaquin County Judge Brett Morgan denied a request for release from a California tuberculosis patient who was jailed and charged for allegedly refusing to take medication to keep his tuberculosis from spreading.

Armando Rodriguez allegedly failed to take medication on his own, stating that he had taken methamphetamine and alcohol and didn't want to hurt his liver by taking the treatment drugs. He pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of refusing to comply with a tuberculosis order on Wednesday, Associated Press reports.

"(Rodriguez) missed 11 days of medications with his hide-and-go-seek behavior," Stephen Taylor, the deputy district attorney, said, according to the Stockton Record. "Parole is also having trouble with him showing up. We need assurances that he will take his medications and would not be a health risk to the public. That includes not being a flight risk."

Timothy Garrigan, Rodriguez's public defender, said that health officials have not provided alternatives to jailing the defendant. Garrigan said that stable housing became an issue for his client after Rodriguez lost his job due to the TB treatment and he could no longer afford the rent to stay in his parents' home.

Morgan denied the request after stating that he was uncomfortable releasing Rodriguez following the defendant's admission of methamphetamine and alcohol use along with his past behavior. The judge requested that public health officials come up with housing alternatives for Rodriguez in the next week.