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Archive for Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blood test results to be suppressed in DUI case in which KU student lost his legs

October 15, 2013

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The results of a blood test will be suppressed in the case of a Kansas University student arrested last year after a DUI accident that cost a fellow student his legs, a Douglas County judge decided.

Douglas County District Judge Kay Huff granted Julian M. Kuszmaul’s motion to suppress the results of a blood test as he awaits trial on charges of second-offense DUI, marijuana possession, following too closely and refusing to submit to drug or alcohol testing, all misdemeanors. Kuszmaul is next scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 22, at which point a trial date is expected to be set.

Huff refused to drop the charge of refusing to submit to drug or alcohol testing, which Kuszmaul sought to have dismissed alongside the blood test results.

The test results showed Kuszmaul's blood-alcohol was 0.25, three times the legal limit of 0.08, when his Ford Explorer struck and pinned Colby Liston, who was 18 at the time, between Kuszmaul's vehicle and another. The vehicle Liston was standing behind was illegally parked in a driving lane of Tennessee Street. Following the accident, both of Liston's legs were amputated above the knee.

On the night of the accident, a Lawrence police officer took Kuszmaul to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and asked him to take a blood test. According to court documents, Kuszmaul indicated he would not consent to a blood test but would cooperate with medical staff. Shortly thereafter, Kuszmaul's blood was drawn.

The state argued that the implied consent statute made the blood test lawful, saying that it allowed law enforcement officers to request drug or alcohol tests if a person was operating a vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in serious injury or death and if the operator could be cited for a traffic offense.

Huff ruled that the statute does not establish clearly defined authorization of warrantless blood draws in the event of accident or injury and said that meeting the requirements of the statute does not necessarily satisfy the Fourth Amendment.

Comments

Elizabeth Stancliffe 10 months, 1 week ago

that is a victory for the Fourth Amendment.

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Leslie Swearingen 10 months, 1 week ago

AMENDMENT IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I would think that the police had probable cause to believe that the driver was drunk. Actually it seems to me that everyone involved was breaking the law. The driver did not expect to see a car stopped there, let alone someone standing behind it. The driver of the stopped car thought it was safe to stop and let someone hop into the back.

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