People v. Brooks, 2017 IL 121413 (November). Episode 423 (Duration 13:50)
Defendant is taken to the hospital kicking and screaming literally against his will and his blood is drawn.
Police arrive to the scene of motorcycle accident.
No other cars were involved.
Witnesses told the police that defendant was riding the bike and he wiped out. Webb spoke to defendant and, while doing so, noticed defendant’s speech was slurred, his eyes were red, and he had an odor of alcohol emitting from his mouth when he spoke or yelled at the police.
According to Webb, defendant appeared agitated by the presence of law enforcement.
Webb believed defendant’s leg was broken because his foot was “almost upside down.”
No Hospital Please
When Webb asked defendant if he wanted to go to the hospital, defendant refused.
Webb was concerned about defendant’s safety, as he appeared to not be thinking rationally because he was screaming and swearing at the police. Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel who were present at the scene told Webb defendant needed to go to the hospital and requested Webb’s assistance in getting him there.
Although defendant continued to decline medical services, Webb ordered defendant out of the Jeep.
Was He Arrested?
Thereafter, Webb and another officer physically removed defendant from the Jeep, placed him on a gurney, and assisted EMS personnel in putting the gurney into the ambulance.
Webb reiterated that it was EMS personnel who wanted defendant to get medical treatment and that he did not direct anyone to treat defendant.
When asked. Webb testified that the ambulance stopped after traveling one or two blocks because defendant was trying to get out. EMS personnel again asked the police to help in transporting defendant. Webb stated that he was concerned at this time for the safety of EMS personnel, defendant, and himself.
Webb placed defendant on the gurney, handcuffed him, and rode in the ambulance the rest of the way to the hospital. Webb then assisted EMS personnel in taking defendant into the emergency room.
At the hospital, Webb read the statutory “Warning to Motorists” to defendant and asked him to consent to blood or breath testing.
At that point, Webb issued defendant a citation for DUI.
No Police Blood
Webb stated he did not take a sample of defendant’s blood nor did he direct anyone at the hospital to do so. While Webb observed nurses working on defendant, he never spoke to them or any doctor. Webb stated he had no further contact with the hospital after he left and did not know whether defendant ever gave consent for a blood draw.
Defendant then testified. Defendant briefly stated that, at the hospital, he never consented to have his blood drawn.
Every time he was asked to have his blood drawn, he refused.
Medical staff set his leg, which was broken. Altogether, defendant stated he spent approximately 12 hours at the hospital.
The sole allegation raised in defendant’s motion to suppress is that his fourth amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search was violated by a blood draw conducted at the hospital.
No Prima Facia Case
To make a prima facie case for suppression, defendant had to establish two things:
first, that a search occurred in the form of a blood draw and,
second, that the draw violated the fourth amendment.
Defendant failed to establish either of these propositions.
Defendant presented no evidence that his blood was actually drawn at the hospital.
Although this was a matter within his personal knowledge, defendant never testified that he was subjected to a blood draw. Instead, he stated only that he refused to consent to having his blood drawn. Nor did he call any witnesses from the hospital to testify that a blood draw was performed.
The officer testified he had no knowledge of whether a blood draw took place.
What About The Bloody Envelope?
Although, it appears the state did subpoena the blood results from the hospital, it was never opened at the suppression hearing.
Thus, no evidence was presented at the suppression hearing that a blood draw was actually performed at the hospital.
We cannot agree with the appellate court that, because defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence and the parties proceeded to argue the motion as if a blood draw was performed, defendant, in fact, established that a search took place. The mere filing of a motion is not proof that a search occurred. Defendant bore the burden at the suppression hearing of showing his blood was drawn but failed to offer any evidence to establish that fact.
Also No Search
Moreover, even assuming a blood draw took place, defendant failed to establish any fourth amendment violation. There is no dispute that a blood draw is a search within the meaning of the fourth amendment. However, the constitutional prohibition “against unreasonable searches and seizures does not apply to searches or seizures conducted by private individuals.”
Where a person performs a search independently of the police, the search is considered a private one and, because state action is not present, the fourth amendment is not implicated.
Where a search is conducted by a private individual, the search will be subject to constitutional guarantees when the individual conducting the search can be regarded as acting as an agent or instrument of the State in light of all the circumstances of the case. Participation by the police in and of itself, then, does not automatically invoke the application of the guarantees against unreasonable government intrusions safeguarded by the fourth and fourteenth amendments.
Thus, to establish a fourth amendment violation in this case, defendant had to demonstrate, “in light of all the circumstances,” that the private individual who conducted the alleged blood draw acted as an agent or instrumentality of the State when doing so.
Defendant did not meet this standard.
Thus, there was no evidence that Webb, or any other police officer, sought or encouraged a blood draw or was even aware that one had been done.
Didn’t Challenge The Search
The appellate court below stressed the fact that defendant was physically forced to go the hospital and reasoned that, because defendant was compelled to go to the hospital, then any hospital employee who drew defendant’s blood necessarily did so under the guise of state action.
This analysis is misplaced.
There is no question police forcibly seized defendant and helped transport him to the hospital.
But defendant has never challenged the legality of the seizure. His challenge is only to the legality of a search, i.e., the blood draw that allegedly took place at St. Anthony’s. And, on this record, there is no evidence that a blood draw even took place, let alone that a hospital employee was acting as an instrumentality or agent of police when it was performed.
Based on the foregoing, we conclude that, even assuming blood was drawn from defendant at St. Anthony’s, it was a private search that did not implicate the fourth amendment.
Accordingly, we conclude defendant failed to establish the first element of his prima facie case. We reverse the judgments of the circuit and appellate courts.
The cause is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Reversed and remanded.