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State v. Arrotta

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 18, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DEREK MICHAEL ARROTTA, Defendant-Respondent

2014 Opinion No. 137

Appeal from the District Court of the Second Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Latah County. Hon. John R. Stegner, District Judge, and Hon. John C. Judge, Magistrate Judge.

The ruling of the district court is affirmed.

Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for appellant.

Douglas D. Phelps, Phelps & Associates, Spokane, Washington, for respondent.

EISMANN, Justice. Chief Justice BURDICK, Justices J. JONES, HORTON and Senior Justice Pro Tem WALTERS CONCUR.

OPINION

EISMANN, Justice.

This is an appeal out of Latah County from a decision of the district court upholding an order of the magistrate court suppressing the results of a test for the alcohol concentration in a sample of the defendant's blood obtained by a warrantless, nonconsensual blood draw. We affirm the ruling of the district court.

I.

Factual Background.

At about 1:54 a.m., on December 8, 2012, Derek Michael Arrotta (Defendant) was stopped by an Idaho State Police officer for a traffic infraction. While interacting with Defendant, the officer detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and noticed that Defendant's eyes were bloodshot and his speech slurred. The officer had Defendant perform field sobriety tests, which indicated that Defendant was under the influence of alcohol. The officer prepared the equipment to have Defendant take a breath test, but he refused. The officer then arrested Defendant and transported him to a local hospital where a sample of Defendant's blood was drawn to be tested for alcohol concentration. At 3:14 a.m., the trooper issued Defendant a citation for driving while under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor.

Defendant filed a motion to suppress " based on violations of the defendant's right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, right to remain silent, right to counsel, and related constitutional protections under the State of Idaho Constitution and the United States Constitution," but the motion did not identify what evidence he wanted to suppress or how his rights were allegedly violated. The parties agreed to postpone the matter until the United States Supreme Court decided Missouri v. McNeely, No. 11-1425.

After the Supreme Court issued its opinion in McNeely, the magistrate court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion to suppress. The trooper testified to the events and stated that he did not recall telling Defendant that he did not have a right to refuse the blood test. However, he also testified that he told Defendant that if he refused the breath test, the trooper would get a blood draw. Defendant testified that he refused the breath test, but not the blood test. He testified that at the hospital he asked if he could refuse the blood test, " but they pretty much said no." ...


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