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State v. Roach

Court of Appeals of Idaho

November 6, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JAY ALTON ROACH, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision is not final until exception of the 21 day petition for rehearing period. Pursuant to rule 118 of the Idaho Appellate Rules

Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bonneville County. Hon. Dane H. Watkins, Jr., District Judge. Hon. Stephen J. Clark, Magistrate.

Decision of the district court affirming the magistrate's order excluding expert testimony, affirmed.

Swafford Law Office, P.C.; Larren K. Covert, Idaho Falls, for appellant. Larren K. Covert argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Russell J. Spencer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Russell J. Spencer argued.

Chief Judge GUTIERREZ and Judge LANSING CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1281

GRATTON, Judge

Jay Alton Roach appeals from the district court's intermediate appellate decision affirming the magistrate court's order excluding expert testimony as irrelevant.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A trooper initiated a traffic stop because Roach's vehicle lacked a front license plate and an expiration sticker on the rear license plate. During the stop, the trooper detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage and noted Roach's eyes were glassy and bloodshot. After Roach failed the ensuing standardized field sobriety tests, he was arrested for driving while under the influence. The trooper waited the prescribed fifteen-minute waiting period and then obtained two breath samples using the Intoxilyzer 5000. The breath test results showed a breath alcohol concentration of .143 and .144.

During discovery, Roach disclosed Dr. Michael Hlastala as an expert witness. The State filed a motion to exclude Dr. Hlastala's testimony. The State anticipated that Dr. Hlastala would testify that breath tests are generally inaccurate to show an individual's level of intoxication. After the jury was selected, the magistrate considered whether to allow Dr. Hlastala's testimony, at which time Dr. Hlastala testified as an offer of proof. The magistrate later entered an order excluding Dr. Hlastala's testimony as irrelevant. The magistrate then granted Roach's motion for a permissive appeal. The district court, sitting in its intermediate appellate capacity, accepted the appeal and affirmed the magistrate court. Roach timely appeals.

II.

ANALYSIS


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