Napier v. State, F-87-850

Decision Date13 November 1991
Docket NumberNo. F-87-850,F-87-850
Citation821 P.2d 1062
PartiesTerry L. NAPIER, Appellant, v. STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.
CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma

Terry L. Napier, Appellant, was tried by jury for the crime of First Degree Manslaughter in Case No. CRF-85-9-D in the District Court of Creek County before the Honorable Donald D. Thompson, District Judge. Appellant was sentenced to twenty-one (21) years in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and has perfected this appeal. Judgment and Sentence is REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR A NEW TRIAL.

Thomas E. Salisbury, Asst. Appellate Public Defender, Norman, for appellant.

Robert H. Henry, Atty. Gen. of Oklahoma and Diane L. Slayton, Asst. Atty. Gen., Oklahoma City, for appellee.


LANE, Presiding Judge:

Appellant, Terry L. Napier, was convicted of First Degree Manslaughter (21 O.S.1981, § 711) after a trial by jury in Creek County District Court, Case No. CRF-85-9-D. In accord with the jury's recommendation, Appellant was sentenced to serve a term of twenty-one (21) years incarceration. He has perfected the instant appeal alleging, inter alia, that the results of his blood alcohol test were improperly admitted into evidence. We agree with this contention and reverse the conviction.

Heidi Miller was killed when Appellant's car collided with a car driven by Richard Stewart on Highway 51 near Oilton. Officers at the scene of the accident detected the odor of alcohol in Appellant's car and also at the hospital where Appellant was transported for treatment. Appellant was hostile and combative to the officers who were trying to get him out of his vehicle and also to hospital personnel. The arresting officer testified that Appellant's eyes were bloodshot and that his speech was slurred. Based on these observations, the officer ordered a blood alcohol test pursuant to the implied consent provisions of 47 O.S.1981, § 751(D). The results of the test indicated a blood alcohol level of 0.15%.

At issue here is whether or not the results of the blood test were admissible into evidence notwithstanding the fact that Appellant was not placed under arrest until the afternoon of the day following the accident. Appellant was charged with manslaughter arising out of the commission of a misdemeanor, driving while intoxicated. Our analysis, then, must first focus on the pertinent portions of 47 O.S.Supp.1984, § 11-902, which defines the misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated. It provides:

It is unlawful and punishable as provided in subsection C of this section for any person to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within this sate who:

1. Has a blood or breath alcohol concentration, as defined in Section 756 of this title, of ten-hundredths (0.10) or more at the time of a test of such person's blood or breath administered within two (2) hours after the arrest of such person....

In the present case, the accident in question happened in the early evening hours of April 29, 1985. The investigating officer, Bill Jackson, arrived at the scene just after 9:30 p.m. Appellant was transported to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Sometime around 12:30 a.m. on April 30, the officer requested a nurse to draw blood in order to conduct blood alcohol tests. Jackson testified that Appellant was not placed under arrest at that time and there is no evidence that any restraints, other than his physical injuries and need for treatment, impeded Appellant from leaving the hospital.

Jackson went back to the hospital the next afternoon, on May 1, and spoke to Appellant at about 2:00 p.m. After a taking a statement from Appellant, Jackson placed him under arrest. Clearly the blood taken from Appellant was extracted more than two hours prior to his arrest. We cannot conclude on the record before us that even a constructive arrest occurred prior to the actual arrest. There was no testimony by the officer that he intended to arrest Appellant at the hospital the night of the accident, nor is there any evidence that he was detained in any way. DeVooght v. State, 722 P.2d 705 (Okl.Cr.1986); Holbird v. State, 650 P.2d 66 (Okl.Cr.1982); Wallace v. State, 620 P.2d 410 (Okl.Cr.1980).

The State urges us to find that the two hour rule of Section 11-902 may be triggered by the finding of probable cause which justifies the officer in drawing the blood. While we would like to agree, we find that the words of the statute leave us no avenue to perform the measurement of time from any event other than arrest. While it seems futile to pronounce an unconscious person "arrested" in order to comply with the statute, that seems to be an absolutely necessary action. Because no arrest was made until many hours after the blood was drawn in this case, the results of the blood test should not have been admitted.

Although we find that there is some other evidence which may satisfy the disjunctive requirements of Section 11-902(A), the evidence supplied by the blood test was substantially prejudicial to undermine our confidence in the jury's verdict. Accordingly, we find that the conviction must be reversed and sent back for a new trial without the admission of the blood alcohol test results.

Based on this decision, we find that we need address only one of Appellant's other allegations, that concerning his retrial after a previous mistrial. At Appellant's first trial, testimony from a witness revealed that the speedometers from the two cars had been removed and sent for testing. Apparently defense counsel was aware of the removal but not of the results of any testing. When the fact of the testing was revealed (but not the results) during examination of a witness, counsel insisted on a mistrial, notwithstanding the State's agreement not to refer to the report. Originally, the trial court refused the mistrial request, finding that the report which indicated Appellant's speed to have been in excess of ninety miles an hour, was not exculpatory, therefore error did not result when the State failed to disclose the report. After much discussion, the State finally agreed to Appellant's demand for a mistrial.

On appeal, Appellant claims that the first mistrial occurred because of the misconduct of the prosecutor, thus the second trial constituted double jeopardy. He cites Oregon v....

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4 cases
  • Miller v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • February 19, 1992
    ...reaffirmed this rule of interpretation. See Isaacs v. District Court of Oklahoma County, 818 P.2d 1247, 1249 (Okl.Cr.1991); Napier v. State, 821 P.2d 1062, 62 OBJ 3555, 3717 (Okl.Cr.1991); McGee v. State, 815 P.2d 196, 198 (Okl.Cr.1991). The Court fails to justify departure from this establ......
  • Turner v. Farris
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Oklahoma
    • March 29, 2017
    ...appeal:[W]e find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering a mistrial during the first trial. Napier v. State, 821 P.2d 1062 (Okla. Crim. App. 1991). Manifest necessity existed for the mistrial, due to Turner's previous counsel having an obvious conflict of interest in t......
  • Davis v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • December 14, 1999
    ...bad-faith conduct, or even benefit from the mistrial; accordingly, double jeopardy did not bar Davis's second trial. Napier v. State, 1991 OK CR 120, 821 P.2d 1062, 1064-65. In proposition three, we find that there was sufficient evidence presented, when viewed in a light most favorable to ......
  • State v. Mosley.
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • July 19, 2011
    ...on other grounds by Fitzgerald v. State, 1998 OK CR 68, ¶ 28 n. 43, 972 P.2d 1157, 1169 n. 43; Napier v. State, 1991 OK CR 120, ¶¶ 8–11, 821 P.2d 1062, 1064–65; McCarty v. State, 1995 OK CR 48, ¶¶ 59–60, 904 P.2d 110, 126–27. 19. 456 U.S. at 671, 102 S.Ct. at 2087 (citing United States v. D......

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