Justia Education Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Criminal
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The State appealed a district court decision to grant defendant David Pool’s motion to suppress the results of a warrantless blood draw on the grounds that it was an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 2016, a police officer came upon the scene of an automobile accident involving two vehicles, one of which was driven by Pool. Pool had failed to negotiate a turn and his vehicle was hit by oncoming traffic. He was not wearing a seatbelt and his airbag deployed in the crash. As a result, he sustained a head injury and was unconscious when the officer arrived at the scene. Pool’s son, a passenger in the vehicle, informed the officer that Pool had not been staying in his traffic lane prior to the crash. He also asserted that the doctors who had prescribed medication to Pool never told him that he could not drive while taking his medications. When Pool regained consciousness, the officer questioned him and noted that he appeared “very lethargic” and “had a presentation similar to a drunk driver . . . slurred speech and thick tongue and obviously disoriented.” Pool told the officer that he believed he had taken his prescription medications that day. Shortly thereafter, a large “baggy” containing seven bottles of prescription medication was recovered from Pool’s vehicle. The officer recognized several of the medications and suspected that they had caused Pool to be impaired. Around that time, Pool and his son were taken to the hospital. The officer followed to question Pool further. At the hospital, the officer ruled out alcohol as a cause of Pool’s impairment based upon the results of a horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The officer did not conduct other field sobriety tests, as he believed Pool’s medical condition rendered it improper for him to do so. Instead, he obtained a blood sample to be used for evidentiary testing. The issue this appeal presented for the Idaho Supreme Court's review centered on the officer’s justification for obtaining the blood sample without a warrant. The State maintained that pursuant to Idaho’s implied consent law, I.C. 18-8002(1), the search was reasonable and the district court erred in requiring proof of exigency. The Supreme Court concurred and reversed the district court. View "Idaho v. Pool" on Justia Law