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State v. Chernobieff

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 30, 2016

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DANIEL CHERNOBIEFF, Defendant-Appellant.

         2016 Opinion No. 156

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Daniel Steckel, Magistrate Judge; Hon. Gerald F. Schroeder, Senior District Judge.

         The decision of the district court is affirmed.

          Silvey Law Office, Ltd., Boise, for appellant. Greg S. Silvey argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Jessica M. Lorello argued.

          J. JONES, Chief Justice

         Daniel Chernobieff appeals the denial of his motion to suppress the results of a warrantless blood draw. Following the magistrate court's denial of the motion, Chernobieff entered a conditional guilty plea. On appeal, the district court affirmed the magistrate court's denial of the motion to suppress. Chernobieff timely appealed.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On September 11, 2013, at around 11:00 p.m., Idaho State Police Corporal Matthew Sly responded to a request for assistance from another officer who had pulled Chernobieff over in a traffic stop. Upon arrival, Corporal Sly noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage, that Chernobieff's eyes were "glassy and bloodshot, " and that his speech was "slow and lethargic." Corporal Sly also noticed that Chernobieff was agitated and appeared to have difficulty answering questions. Based upon these observations, Corporal Sly asked Chernobieff to perform standard field sobriety tests, but Chernobieff refused. Consequently, Corporal Sly placed Chernobieff under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence ("DUI") and placed him in the patrol car. In the car, Corporal Sly played the audio version of the administrative license suspension form for Chernobieff and began the fifteen minute wait period required for a breath test. However, Chernobieff refused the breath test. Corporal Sly then contacted the on-call prosecutor for assistance in obtaining a warrant for a blood sample. The prosecutor asked Corporal Sly to transport Chernobieff to the jail, where a conference call would be set up with the on-call magistrate to obtain a search warrant. The prosecutor then unsuccessfully attempted to contact the magistrate. Over approximately ten minutes, the prosecutor attempted to call the magistrate between three and five times and left one or two voicemail messages. Unable to reach the magistrate to obtain a warrant, the prosecutor directed Corporal Sly to perform a blood draw due to exigent circumstances. Corporal Sly contacted the phlebotomist to perform a blood draw, and the test results indicated Chernobieff's blood alcohol content was 0.226.

         The State charged Chernobieff with DUI with an excessive blood alcohol content. Chernobieff filed a motion to suppress, asserting that the warrantless blood draw violated his rights under both the United States and Idaho Constitutions. The magistrate court denied Chernobieff's motion, finding that the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement applied under the specific facts of this case. Subsequently, Chernobieff filed a conditional guilty plea, reserving his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. Chernobieff timely appealed to the district court, which affirmed the magistrate court's decision. Chenobieff again appealed and the Idaho Courts of Appeals affirmed. Chernobieff sought, and the Supreme Court granted, review.

         II.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "When reviewing a case on petition for review from the Court of Appeals this Court gives due consideration to the decision reached by the Court of Appeals, but directly reviews the decision of the trial court." State v. Lute, 150 Idaho 837, 839, 252 P.3d 1255, 1257 (2011). "On appeal of a decision rendered by a district court while acting in its intermediate appellate capacity, this Court directly reviews the district court's decision." In re Doe, 147 Idaho 243, 248, 207 P.3d 974, 979 (2009). "In reviewing an order granting or denying a motion to suppress evidence, this Court will ...


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