People v. Mayhew

Decision Date01 October 1999
Docket NumberDocket No. 202997.
Citation236 Mich. App. 112,600 N.W.2d 370
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Micah V. MAYHEW, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

Jennifer M. Granholm, Attorney General, Thomas L. Casey, Solicitor General, David G. Gorcyca, Prosecuting Attorney, Daniel L. Lemisch, Chief, Appellate Division, and Robert C. Williams, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for the people.

John D. Lazar, Royal Oak, for the defendant on appeal.

Before: SAWYER, P.J., and BANDSTRA and R.B. BURNS 1, JJ.

BANDSTRA, J.

In this case, we are asked to decide, in addition to other issues, whether urine test evidence showing the presence of marijuana-related tetrahydrocannabinol2 (THC) is admissible under M.C.L. § 257.625a(6); MSA 9.2325(1)(6). We conclude that the results of defendant's urine test were properly admitted into evidence pursuant to M.C.L. § 257.625a(6)(a); MSA 9.2325(1)(6)(a).

I

This case arises from a multivehicle motor vehicle accident that resulted in one death and several injuries. On the day of the accident, defendant, a high school student, took his vehicle to an oil change shop before going to school. Defendant was informed by an employee there that the sway bar was hanging loose on the rear end of the vehicle. The employee explained to defendant that driving too fast or making sharp turns while the sway bar was loose could cause the rear end of the vehicle to fishtail and cause an accident. The employee showed defendant the loose sway bar, informed him that the sway bar helps to keep the rear of the vehicle stable, and told him that he should get the sway bar fixed. The oil change shop was not in the business of doing this type of repair work, and defendant left the shop with the sway bar still loose. Defendant did not ask how fast he could drive.

Defendant then went to school. After a few hours, defendant and a few friends left school and were on their way to get parts for defendant's vehicle when the accident occurred. Numerous witnesses to the accident testified at trial that just before the accident, defendant was speeding and weaving through traffic. The accident occurred when defendant's vehicle began to fishtail in the rear and the vehicle spun around and crossed to the other side of the road into oncoming traffic. Because defendant was injured and unable to communicate with the paramedics, his clothing was removed to check for further injury. During the removal of defendant's clothing, a paramedic found a plastic bag filled with a green, leafy substance, which subsequent chemical testing revealed to be marijuana.

While defendant was hospitalized for his injuries, a search warrant was obtained for defendant's blood test results from the hospital. Although the search warrant only sought the release of defendant's blood test results, the hospital released the results of a urine drug screen performed on defendant that showed the presence of marijuana-related THC. This urine test report was presented as evidence at trial. Defendant was initially charged with one count of second-degree murder, M.C.L. § 750.317; MSA 28.549, three counts of felonious driving, M.C.L. § 752.191; MSA 28.661, one count of possession of marijuana, M.C.L. § 333.7403(2)(d); MSA 14.15(7403)(2)(d), and one count of operating a vehicle while his license was suspended, M.C.L. § 257.904(1)(b); MSA 9.2604(1)(b). Defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, M.C.L. § 750.321; MSA 28.553, three counts of felonious driving, M.C.L. § 752.191; MSA 28.661, possession of marijuana, M.C.L. § 333.7403(2)(d); MSA 14.15(7403)(2)(d), and operating a vehicle while his license was suspended, M.C.L. § 257.904(1)(b); MSA 9.2604(1)(b). He was sentenced to concurrent sentences of seven to fifteen years' imprisonment for the manslaughter conviction, sixteen to twenty-four months' imprisonment for the felonious driving conviction, one year for the possession of marijuana conviction, and ninety days for the conviction of driving while his license was suspended. Defendant now appeals as of right. We affirm.

II

Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the urine test evidence showing the presence of marijuana-related THC. He contends that the urine test results were outside the scope of the search warrant issued in this case and that those results were not admissible under M.C.L. § 257.625a(6); MSA 9.2325(1)(6). The trial court's ruling regarding defendant's motion to suppress involved questions of law that we review de novo. People v. Goforth, 222 Mich.App. 306, 310 & n. 4, 564 N.W.2d 526 (1997).

We first consider defendant's argument that the trial court improperly determined that the urine test results were admissible under M.C.L. § 257.625a(6); MSA 9.2325(1)(6). In pertinent part, this statute provides:

(6) The following provisions apply with respect to chemical tests and analysis of a person's blood, urine, or breath, other than preliminary chemical breath analysis:
(a) The amount of alcohol or presence of a controlled substance or both in a driver's blood or urine or the amount of alcohol in a person's breath at the time alleged as shown by chemical analysis of the person's blood, urine, or breath is admissible into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding.

* * *

(e) If, after an accident, the driver of a vehicle involved in the accident is transported to a medical facility and a sample of the driver's blood is withdrawn at that time for medical treatment, the results of a chemical analysis of that sample are admissible in any civil or criminal proceeding to show the amount of alcohol or presence of a controlled substance or both in the person's blood at the time alleged, regardless of whether the person had been offered or had refused a chemical test. The medical facility or person performing the chemical analysis shall disclose the results of the analysis to a prosecuting attorney who requests the results for use in a criminal prosecution as provided in this subdivision. A medical facility or person disclosing information in compliance with this subsection is not civilly or criminally liable for making the disclosure. [MCL 257.625a(6)(a) and (e); MSA 9.2325(1)(6)(a) and (e).]

One of the primary rules of statutory construction is that, if its language is clear, a statute is to be enforced as written. People v. Denio, 454 Mich. 691, 699, 564 N.W.2d 13 (1997). Under the clear language of the two subsections at issue here, subsection 6(a) allowed the results of defendant's urine test to be admitted into evidence because they showed "the ... presence of a controlled substance ... in a driver's ... urine ... as shown by chemical analysis...." Equally clearly, the provisions of subsection 6(e) are not applicable here because that subsection only references blood samples and their chemical analysis, without any mention of urine samples or urinalysis.3

Defendant argues that we should conclude that subsection 6(e), which is more specific, should be read as creating an exception to subsection 6(a), which is more general. However, the rule of statutory construction that defendant relies on in this regard applies only if "a conflict or inconsistency exist[s] between the statutes...." Szyszkoski v. Lansing, 64 Mich.App. 94, 97, 235 N.W.2d 72 (1975). "This aid to construction is inapplicable where ... there is no conflict between the statutes." Woll v. Attorney General, 409 Mich. 500, 516, 297 N.W.2d 578 (1980). "[T]he particular intention shall be considered as an exception to the general one" only "[w]hen a general intention is expressed and also a particular intention which is incompatible with the general one...." State Hwy. Comm'r v. Detroit City Controller, 331 Mich. 337, 363, 49 N.W.2d 318 (1951).

We find no incompatibility between subsections 6(a) and 6(e). As noted earlier, subsection 6(a) clearly allows into evidence chemical analyses that show the amount of alcohol or presence of a controlled substance in a driver's urine. Subsection 6(e) says nothing whatsoever regarding urine tests and, accordingly, cannot be read as disallowing the admission into evidence of urine tests or otherwise contradicting or presenting a conflict with subsection 6(a).4 Defendant's argument would, in effect, read subsection 6(a) out of existence. In the absence of any conflict or contradiction between that subsection and another statute, we have no authority to do so.

Defendant also claims that, because the search warrant issued in this case was limited to only blood test results, the results of his urine test should have been suppressed. However, we have concluded above that the urine test results were admissible under M.C.L. § 257.625a(6)(a); MSA 9.2325(1)(6)(a). In People v. Perlos, 436 Mich. 305, 462 N.W.2d 310 (1990), our Supreme Court reviewed a number of cases in which hospitals had turned over test results under this statute even though no search warrants whatsoever had been issued. The Court questioned "whether the state's request and acquisition of blood test results without a search warrant infringed on defendants' Fourth Amendment privacy interests," noting that "[i]f no privacy interests existed, defendants do not have standing to challenge the government action." Id. at 316-317, 462 N.W.2d 310. The Court determined that the defendants had no reasonable "expectation of privacy" with respect to the test results turned over by the hospitals. While recognizing that "[g]enerally, information relating to medical treatment falls under the physician-patient privilege, and remains confidential," the Court reasoned that an expectation of privacy regarding blood alcohol test results, following an automobile accident and obtained for purposes of medical treatment, is not reasonable. Id. at 325, 462 N.W.2d 310.

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