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People v. Woodard

Court of Appeals of Michigan

September 19, 2017

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GLORIANNA WOODARD, Defendant-Appellant.

         Jackson Circuit Court LC No. 15-004629-FH

          Before: Hoekstra, P.J., and Meter and K. F. Kelly, JJ.

          Hoekstra, P.J.

         In this interlocutory appeal, defendant has been charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, third offense, MCL 257.625, and operating a vehicle while license is suspended or revoked, MCL 257.904. In the trial court, defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence of her blood alcohol content, asserting that the analysis of her blood constituted an illegal search performed after she withdrew her consent for a blood test. The trial court denied this motion and denied defendant's motion for reconsideration. Defendant filed an interlocutory application for leave to appeal, which this Court granted.[1] Because the trial court did not err by denying defendant's motion to suppress, we affirm and remand for further proceedings.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 6, 2015, Michigan State Police Trooper Anthony Ramirez conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by defendant. Initially, Ramirez stopped the vehicle because the license plate light was non-operational and the license plate had a "smoke tinted" cover. However, based on defendant's watery and blood shot eyes, the smell of alcohol in the vehicle, as well as defendant's unsteady gate and performance on field sobriety tests, Ramirez believed defendant was intoxicated. At Ramirez's request, defendant agreed to perform a preliminary breath test. Ramirez then arrested defendant for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and Ramirez asked defendant to consent to a blood test. Defendant consented to a blood test, and Ramirez transported defendant to a hospital where blood was drawn. The blood sample was then sent to the Michigan State Police Laboratory for analysis.

         On March 9, 2015, before testing on defendant's blood sample had been conducted, defendant's attorney sent Trooper Ramirez, the Jackson County Prosecutor, and the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division a document entitled "Notice of Defendant's Withdrawal of Consent to Search, Demand to Cease and Desist Further Warrantless Search, and Demand for Return of Blood Samples." In relevant part, this documented stated:

NOW COMES the Defendant, GLORIANNA WOODARD, by and through counsel, the Maze Legal Group, PC, by William J. Maze, and hereby provides notice that she withdraws her consent for further voluntary search of her blood sample based upon the following:
1. Defendant, GLORIANNA WOODARD, is alleged to have voluntarily permitted a withdrawal of his [sic] blood on or about March 6, 2015.
6. Defendant now affirmatively withdraws her consent for further search, demanding that the police, prosecutor and state laboratory immediately cease and desist from further search of the blood evidence, demanding that these state actors immediately obtain a search warrant to justify any search and/or continued detention of the blood sample, returning the blood sample to Defendant forthwith if a warrant is not sought and obtained immediately by the government.
9. If the Prosecuting attorney, Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division, or the Michigan State Police Jackson Post, desires to keep the blood sample and/or conduct any testing that has not already occurred on the blood sample, [defendant] demands that any search be conducted pursuant to a search warrant. . . .

         The parties who received this notice did not heed its demand to cease further testing and return the blood sample. The subsequent analysis of defendant's blood sample revealed that she had a blood alcohol content of 0.212 at the time of the blood draw. The prosecutor charged defendant with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, third offense, and operating a vehicle while license is suspended or revoked.

         In the circuit court, defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of her blood alcohol test, asserting that, although she consented to the blood draw, she revoked her consent before the tests were conducted and, in the absence of a warrant, the analysis of her blood constituted an unlawful search. In response, the prosecutor maintained that defendant did not have a privacy interest that would prevent the analysis of a lawfully obtained blood sample. Citing People v Perlos, 436 Mich. 305; 462 N.W.2d 310 (1990), the trial court agreed with the prosecutor, concluding that testing of a lawfully obtained sample did not violate the Fourth Amendment. In denying defendant's motion for reconsideration, the trial court similarly reasoned that "once consent is given, blood is drawn, then they can go forward with the testing at that point . . . ." Following denial of her motion for reconsideration, defendant filed an interlocutory application for leave to appeal, which we granted.

         On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress the results of her blood test. In making this argument, defendant does not dispute that she voluntary consented to Ramirez's request for a blood test and she does not challenge the lawfulness of the blood draw at the hospital. Instead, defendant maintains that the subsequent analysis of her blood constituted a separate and distinct search. Because consent may be withdrawn at any time, defendant argues that, until her blood was analyzed, she could withdraw her consent to the blood test and demand the return of her blood sample. In view of her notice to ...


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