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Judges affirm retroactive application of amendments to blood draw statute

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Applying 2010 statutory amendments governing chemical tests for evidence of intoxication to a case of a man charged in 2009 with driving while intoxicated didn’t violate the prohibitions against ex post facto criminal sanctions, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.

Brett Boston on interlocutory appeal challenged the denial of his motion to suppress the results of his blood test following his arrest on suspicion of drunk driving in fall 2009. He was taken to a Hendricks County hospital where a phlebotomist took his blood. Boston challenged the blood draw claiming the phlebotomist wasn’t under the direction of or following protocol prepared by a doctor.

Boston argued the state didn’t satisfy the foundational requirements of the 2006 version of Indiana Code Section 9-30-6-6 that was in effect when he was arrested and that the trial court erred in relying on amendments made in 2010 to deny the motion to suppress.

The 2006 version of the statute included the term “certified phlebotomist.” That was eliminated, and the language that the “authorized person” determination doesn’t need to be made when a bodily substance sample is “taken at a licensed hospital” was added by the 2010 amendments deemed effective upon passage.

The judges agreed with the state that the 2010 amendments were remedial in nature and were motivated by strong and compelling reasons aimed at public safety and welfare. The General Assembly’s amendment clearly shows its acknowledgement that “blood draws which are performed in state-licensed hospitals observe and embody the ‘technical adherence’ to a physician’s directions or to a physician’s protocol required by our evidentiary rules for the admission of blood test results,” wrote Judge Carr Darden in Brett Boston v. State of Indiana, No. 32A01-1008-CR-421.

The appellate court also held that the retroactive application of the remedial 2010 amendments didn’t violate constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto criminal sanctions. Retroactive application of the amendments doesn’t enlarge Boston’s punishment or change the elements of his crime, Judge Darden noted.

Boston also failed in his argument that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the state failed to establish a proper foundation. In finding the amendments may be properly applied to Boston’s claim, he can’t demonstrate that the phlebotomist didn’t satisfy the foundational requirements of the statute.

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  1. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

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