from the Superior Court in Maricopa County The Honorable
Bruce R. Cohen, Judge No. CR2011-110536 REMANDED
of the Court of Appeals, Division One 238 Ariz. 446, 362 P.3d
493 (App. 2015) VACATED
Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General, Dominic Draye, Solicitor
General, Joseph T. Maziarz, Chief Counsel, Criminal Appeals
Section, Terry M. Crist, III, (argued), Assistant Attorney
General, Phoenix, Attorneys for State of Arizona.
Natalee Segal (argued), Ballecer & Segal, LLP, Phoenix,
Attorneys for Patrick McLeod Nissley.
Steinfield (argued) and Kevin Heade, Maricopa County Public
Defender's Office, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Arizona
Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
JUSTICE TIMMER authored the opinion of the Court, in which
CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER, and
JUSTICES BRUTINEL and BOLICK joined.
A law enforcement officer must ordinarily obtain a search
warrant to take an involuntary blood sample from a suspect.
Arizona's medical blood draw exception to the warrant
requirement, however, requires medical personnel to provide
upon request a portion of any blood sample taken from a
patient when the officer has probable cause to believe that
the patient had been driving under the influence of alcohol
or other drugs. A.R.S. § 28-1388(E). This exception
applies only when the sample is drawn for medical reasons and
exigent circumstances exist. See State v. Cocio, 147
Ariz. 277, 286, 709 P.2d 1336, 1345 (1985).
The issue here is whether and under what circumstances the
exception can apply when a suspect contends that medical
personnel rendered treatment against the suspect's will.
We hold that the state is required to prove that a suspect
expressly or impliedly consented to medical treatment or that
medical personnel acted when the suspect was incapable of
directing his or her own medical treatment.
In reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress, "we
consider only evidence presented at the suppression hearing
and view the facts in the light most favorable to sustaining
the trial court's ruling." State v.
Valenzuela, 239 Ariz. 299, 301 ¶ 3, 371 P.3d 627,
629 (2016) (citation and internal quotations omitted).
On a late afternoon in November 2010, Patrick Nissley drove
his car erratically and at a high speed through Scottsdale
traffic, crossing lanes and swerving onto a sidewalk.
Tragically, Nissley crashed into an oncoming car, injuring
four people and killing a pedestrian. Emergency personnel
quickly arrived, including city-employed paramedics. They
found Nissley delirious, flailing his arms, and screaming
Nissley had suffered a head wound and was covered in blood
from numerous cuts. He was uncooperative with paramedics,
yelling obscenities and demanding to be left alone. The
paramedics ignored these demands, concluding that Nissley
could not make coherent decisions for his own care. They
restrained him and loaded him into an ambulance. He fought
them throughout the ride to the hospital. Once there, medical
personnel sedated him for treatment and took a blood sample
for medical purposes.
A police officer came to the hospital. She asked for and
received a portion of Nissley's blood sample without
first procuring a warrant. Subsequent testing of the blood
revealed the presence of methamphetamine and an active
metabolite of heroin. The State indicted Nissley on charges