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Diaz v. Van Wie

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

July 31, 2018

OSWALDO DIAZ, JR., Petitioner,
v.
THE HONORABLE ANNIELAURIE VAN WIE, Judge of the SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA, in and for the County of MARICOPA, Respondent Commissioner, STATE OF ARIZONA, Real Party in Interest.

          Petition for Special Action from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CR2016-111114-001 The Honorable Annielaurie Van Wie, Judge Pro Tem

          ASU Alumni Law Group, Phoenix By Kelly J. Flood, Lawrence S. Koplow Counsel for Petitioner

          Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Phoenix By Amanda M. Parker, Andrea L. Kever Counsel for Real Party in Interest

          Judge Peter B. Swann delivered the opinion of the court, in which Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen and Judge Kent E. Cattani joined.

          OPINION

          SWANN, JUDGE

         ¶1 Oswaldo Diaz, Jr., who faces prosecution for aggravated driving under the influence ("DUI"), seeks special-action relief from the superior court's refusal to suppress blood evidence obtained under A.R.S. § 28-1388(E)'s "medical-draw exception" to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement.

         ¶2 We accept jurisdiction and grant relief. Our supreme court's additions to § 28-1388(E)'s express requirements make clear that the medical-draw exception for seizure of blood samples requires a showing of exigent circumstances. And it is well-established that this showing must demonstrate an imminent risk of destruction of blood-alcohol evidence beyond that posed by the natural evanescence of alcohol in the bloodstream - a circumstance that will rarely be present when the state seeks to effect a warrantless seizure of an already-preserved blood sample. Here, no exigent circumstances were present, and the test results from the improperly seized blood sample therefore must be suppressed.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3 On March 7, 2016, at approximately 6:42 p.m., a witness discovered a vehicle crashed into a business's entry gate, with the engine still running. Diaz, the driver, was the vehicle's sole occupant. The witness saw Diaz turn off the engine and slump over the steering wheel.

         ¶4 Fire department personnel extracted Diaz and, finding him unresponsive with no visible trauma, placed him in an ambulance for transport to a hospital. Diaz was still unresponsive when he arrived at the hospital, and medical imaging revealed no trauma. Medical personnel determined that he was stable, but intubated him and placed him on a breathing machine while they worked to determine the cause of his unresponsive state and decide how to treat him. Hospital personnel also drew blood for medical purposes, and stored it securely. A nurse noticed the odor of alcohol on Diaz's breath and person.

         ¶5 Police were advised of all the foregoing, and of the fact that medical personnel had drawn blood from Diaz for medical purposes. Without attempting to obtain a warrant, a police officer took custody of the blood at approximately 7:38 p.m. The state eventually tested the blood for its alcohol content, and thereafter charged Diaz with aggravated DUI under A.R.S. §§ 28-1381 and -1383. Diaz seeks special-action relief from the superior court's denial of his motions seeking suppression of the blood evidence.

         JURISDICTION

         ¶6 We accept special-action jurisdiction because Diaz's petition presents a purely legal issue of statewide importance that is likely to recur. Vo v. ...


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