Statutory Violation Not Enough to Suppress Evidence in OWI Case


OWI

People v. Zablocki, COA 328152

Issues:

Suppression of the defendant’s blood test results in connection with charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol with an occupant under age 16 (MCL 257.625(7)(a)(i)) & operating a motor vehicle while having a controlled substance in his body (MCL 257.625(8)); Motion to suppress on the basis neither a licensed physician nor an individual operating under the delegation of a licensed physician drew the blood; MCL 257.625a(6)(c); The “implied consent law”; MCL 257.625c(1) & (3); Collins v. Secretary of State; People v. Jenne; Principle that “theFourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable seizures do not apply in ‘situations in which voluntary consent has been obtained’”; Illinois v. Rodriguez; Applicability of the “exclusionary rule”; People v. Anstey; Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Summary:

Concluding that nothing in the statutory language suggested that a violation of § 625a(6)(c) requires suppression of the blood test results, the court held that this remedy was not appropriate for a violation of the statute and the lower courts erred in suppressing the results on the basis of a statutory violation. Thus, the court reversed the circuit court’s order affirming the district court’s suppression of defendant’s blood test results, and remanded. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol with an occupant under age 16 and operating a motor vehicle while having a controlled substance in his body. There was no dispute that he “consented to a blood draw on the night he was arrested.” A licensed EMT “was called to the police department and drew defendant’s blood while inside an ambulance. The EMT obtained a blood sample from the inside of defendant’s elbow and gave the vial of blood to a police officer. According to the EMT, a hospital was less than 10 minutes from the police department, and he had the continual ability to speak with a physician over the radio from the ambulance.” Defendant’s motion to suppress was based “on the ground that neither a licensed physician nor an individual operating under the delegation of a licensed physician drew his blood.” The court noted that “the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable seizures do not apply in ‘situations in which voluntary consent has been obtained.’” Defendant consented to the blood draw. “Where there was no accompanying constitutional violation, the suppression of evidence is not an appropriate remedy for a mere statutory violation ‘unless the plain language of the statute indicates a legislative intent that the [exclusionary] rule be applied.’” As the Michigan Supreme Court noted in Anstey as to “subsection (6)(d), had the Legislature intended suppression of the blood test results as a remedy for a violation of subsection (6)(c), it could have so specified as it did in subsection (8).” Even assuming “that the EMT was not operating under the delegation of a licensed physician as defendant argued below,” suppressing the results was not an appropriate remedy.

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