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Court correctly ruled toxicology department audit results ‘irrelevant’

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The Hamilton Superior Court properly denied a defendant’s attempt to elicit testimony concerning the reliability of toxicology test results from the Indiana Department of Toxicology dealing with an audit of tests performed by the department from 2007 to 2009, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.

Troy Wilson was charged with Class A misdemeanors possession of marijuana and driving while intoxicated; he only challenged his DWI conviction on appeal. Wilson agreed to submit to a blood draw test for the presence of alcohol in his system on Dec. 6, 2009, and a nurse performed the blood draw using a kit provided to police by the State Department of Toxicology. It was later analyzed by the department’s lab in 2010, and tested again in 2011 after the original analyst was no longer employed with the department. Wilson was convicted in January 2012.

At trial, Wilson sought to introduce testimony from Dr. Scott Kriger, Ph.D., the department’s director, concerning audits conducted of test results produced by the department during 2007, 2008 and 2009. The independent audit found testing errors in around 10 percent of marijuana tests and a third of cocaine tests. Further audits were postponed before alcohol tests could be reviewed. The state objected and the trial court ruled the testimony inadmissible.

The Court of Appeals rejected Wilson’s argument that his confrontation rights were violated when he was unable to elicit the audit testimony from Kriger. But he was able to cross-examine the second analyst and Kriger regarding how the tests are performed and other information, Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in Troy Wilson v. State of Indiana, 29A02-1202-CR-88.

The trial court also didn’t err in determining the audit testimony was irrelevant as the audit pertained to samples tested from 2007 to 2009 and Wilson’s test used at trial was performed in 2011, the judges held. Wilson argued the audit results impact the jury’s assessment of the credibility of the department’s analysis of his blood sample because his test “could have been part of an audit.”

“The discontinuation of the audit on blood-alcohol samples and the period of time covered by the audits generally may bear upon the credibility of the Department’s testing results from 2007 to 2009. But it is not clear that these questions bear upon the credibility of the Department’s analysis here, where different procedures were executed by different analysts serving under a different Director more than 1 ½ years beyond the chronological scope of the audits,” Bailey wrote.

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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