People v. Turner, 2018 IL App (1st) 170204 (February). Episode 462 (Duration 9:30)
Good faith exception saves this warrantless blood draw.
Shortly after 10 p.m. on July 2, 2011, the defendant’s pickup truck collided with a motorcycle carrying two persons.
The truck and motorcycle had collided in an intersection. The driver of the motorcycle, James McFall, was killed; his wife, Kasey McFall, sustained serious injuries. The defendant was taken to the emergency room at St. James Hospital, where two blood samples were drawn from him.
Officer Murphy recalled that the defendant’s “speech was slurred and mumbled” when he spoke to hospital staff and that his eyes were “glassy and bloodshot.”
Not High Speeds
Based on the extent of deformation of the motorcycle’s wheelbase, Coulom calculated that the motorcycle’s speed at impact was approximately 25 miles per hour. Using another formula, he determined “an approximate speed of 23 miles per hour which was consistent with the 25 [miles per hour] I got with the wheelbase deformation.”
He applied a separate “energy formula” to estimate that the pickup truck’s speed was between 13 and 15 miles per hour at the time of the collision. Officer Coulom testified that the pickup truck’s “black box” data recorder reflected that five seconds prior to the crash, the truck’s speed was approximately 10 miles per hour.
The recorder indicated that the truck’s brakes were applied five seconds before the impact.
According to Escamilla’s records, the defendant admitted to a nurse that he was drinking alcohol before the accident.
The first blood draw was taken pursuant to a physician’s order as a part of his emergency room treatment, at approximately 10:46 p.m. At the request of police, nurses performed a second blood draw for inclusion in a “DUI kit” shortly after midnight on July 3, 2011.
Both tests indicated that the defendant’s blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. The hospital blood was 0.142 and the ISP blood was .118.
Charged With Aggravated DUI
The defendant was charged with 10 counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless homicide.
Defendant Says He Didn’t Consent
Defendant testified that at the hospital, he was asked for a blood sample “around three to four times” by nurses, in the presence of police. He stated that he “continually asked the reason why they wanted to draw blood” but was given no reason. He further testified that at some point he was told “that in order for me to go home that I would have to give a blood sample.”
He claimed that he never consented to the DUI kit blood draw.
State Says When There Is A Death That’s Different
The State argued that McNeely was distinguishable and that the DUI kit blood draw was permissible under section 11-501.2 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code), which states that “if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle driven by *** a person under the influence of alcohol *** has caused the death or personal injury to another, that person shall submit, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol content thereof.” 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(c)(2) (West 2010).
8 Year Sentence
The court found that the defendant’s failure to yield was the proximate cause of James McFall’s death and Kasey McFall’s injuries. Accordingly, the court found the defendant guilty of all 10 charged counts. The trial court sentenced the defendant to two concurrent eight-year sentences on counts I and V.
We first address the argument that the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress the DUI kit blood draw. The defendant argues that, because he did not consent and Officer Murphy did not attempt to obtain a warrant, the DUI kit blood draw violated his rights under the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution.
625 ILCS 5/111-501.2(c) Unconstitutional
Eubanks’s holding that section 11-501.2(c)(2) is unconstitutional on its face does not end our analysis of the DUI kit in this case, since the State argues for application of the good-faith exception to the warrant requirement.
Don’t Forget About
The Good Faith Exception
If that exception applies, it will support admission of the DUI kit blood draw, notwithstanding section 11-501.2(c)(2)’s unconstitutionality.
“There is no constitutional right to have the evidence resulting from an illegal search or seizure suppressed at trial. The mere fact of a fourth amendment violation does not mean that exclusion necessarily follows.” People v. LeFlore, 2015 IL 116799, ¶ 22. Evidence will not be excluded where police acted with an “objectively reasonable good-faith belief that their conduct [was] lawful” as in such cases “there is no illicit conduct to deter.”
Accordingly, under the good-faith exception, “searches conducted [by police] in objectively reasonable reliance on binding appellate precedent are not subject to the exclusionary rule.” Davis, 564 U.S at 232.
Case Law: People v. Harrison
We find that People v. Harrison, 2016 IL App (5th) 150048 supports application of the good-faith exception under the facts of this case.
As in Harrison, the defendant’s arrest in this case occurred after our supreme court’s decision in People v. Jones, 214 Ill. 2d 187 (2005) but before the 2013 decision in McNeely. Thus, Officer Murphy could reasonably rely on Jones for the proposition that warrantless blood draws are permitted in DUI cases, even where the defendant objected to the blood draw.
The court in Harrison recognized that a 1975 decision of our supreme court stated that “a compulsory blood test does not violate any constitutional rights of an individual merely because he objected to such tests.” (quoting People v. Todd, 59 Ill. 2d 534, 544-45 (1975)). Harrison further recognized that subsequent decisions of the appellate court “consistently upheld the constitutional validity of warrantless, nonconsensual blood draws such as the one administered in the present case.”
People v. Jones
Harrison also relied heavily on our supreme court’s 2005 decision in Jones, 214 Ill. 2d 187, which held that results of blood and urine tests were admissible even if the tests were “performed over defendant’s objection.” Id. at 202. The Fifth District concluded that Jones supported application of the good-faith exception.
Force Is Different
Since our supreme court in Jones expressly cautioned that it did not “permit law enforcement officers to use physical force in obtaining blood, urine, and breath samples” (Jones, 214 Ill. 2d at 201), we concluded that the officers in Eubanks “could not have reasonably relied on Jones to authorize such conduct.” Eubanks, 2017 IL App (1st) 142837, ¶ 72.
In Eubanks, we rejected the State’s reliance on Jones, noting that the defendant in Jones “verbally refused to give blood and urine samples but did not physically resist their collection.” Id. ¶ 72. Further, we emphasized our supreme court’s statement in Jones that, “We do not suggest that a DUI arrestee’s lack of a right to refuse chemical testing *** permits law enforcement officers to use physical force in obtaining blood, urine, and breath samples.”
Thus, the police in this case could have reasonably relied on Jones as binding precedent authorizing the taking of the defendant’s blood pursuant to section 11-501.2(c)(2). We recognize that our recent opinion in Eubanks rejected the State’s reliance on Jones to invoke the good-faith exception. Eubanks, 2017 IL App (1st) 142837, ¶ 72.
However, our conclusion in this case is not inconsistent, as Eubanks is clearly distinguishable under its particular facts. The defendant in Eubanks did not merely decline to consent to the tests; rather, our court emphasized that “physical force was used to obtain Eubanks’s blood and urine samples,” including that he was “handcuffed to the hospital bed while blood was forcibly drawn from him.”
The facts of the present case are plainly distinguishable from Eubanks. Although the defendant in this case testified that he initially refused requests for a blood draw, he did not claim (and there is nothing in the record to suggest) that he was physically threatened or restrained in order to obtain the sample.
As the good-faith exception applies in this case, we affirm the denial of the motion to suppress the DUI kit blood draw.
The trial court specifically found that he was not coerced, and that finding is not against the manifest weight of the evidence. In this sense, the circumstances of the defendant’s DUI blood draw are much more similar to Harrison than to Eubanks. Thus, as in Harrison, we conclude that at the time of this occurrence, Officer Murphy could reasonably have relied on our supreme court’s decision in Jones to request the blood draw.
Conviction and sentence affirmed.
Episode 438 – People v. Eubanks, 2017 IL App (1st) 142837 (December) (really bad defendant held down in the hospital)
Episode 461 – People v. Hayes, 2018 IL App (5th) 140223 (February) (defendant was not ticketed so so state could not establish consent to the blood draw)
Episode 439 – People v. Sykes, 2017 IL App (1st) 150023 (December) (no police action when police hold a lady down in the hospital)
Episode 423 – People v. Brooks, 2017 IL 121413 (November), (our supreme court recently held that mere police participation, absent the private actors acting as an agent or instrumentality of the State, is not state action)