State v. Meyers, 1-01-48.

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
Citation146 Ohio App.3d 563,767 NE 2d 739
Docket NumberNo. 1-01-48.,1-01-48.
PartiesThe STATE of Ohio, Appellee, v. MEYERS, Appellant.
Decision Date28 September 2001

146 Ohio App.3d 563
767 NE 2d 739


The STATE of Ohio, Appellee,
MEYERS, Appellant.

No. 1-01-48.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Allen County.

Decided September 28, 2001.

146 Ohio App.3d 564


146 Ohio App.3d 565


146 Ohio App.3d 566


146 Ohio App.3d 567

Anthony Geiger, City Prosecutor, and Vincent Duckworth, Assistant City Prosecutor, for appellee.

F. Stephen Chamberlain, for appellant.

WALTERS, Presiding Judge.

{¶ 1} Appellant, Paul D. Meyers, appeals a judgment of conviction and sentence entered by the Lima Municipal Court finding him guilty of operating a motor vehicle with a proscribed concentration of alcohol in his blood pursuant to R.C. 4511.19(A)(2). For the reasons expressed in the following opinion, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

{¶ 2} The facts that are relevant to the issue raised on appeal are as follows. At 2:03 a.m. on October 2, 1998, Allen County Sheriff Deputy Brad Baty observed Paul D. Meyers, appellant, drive his motor vehicle into the path of another motor

146 Ohio App.3d 568
vehicle at the intersection of Roush Road and State Route 81 in Allen County, Ohio. Deputy Baty summoned an emergency medical service ("EMS") provider to the scene. Meyers was transported by the EMS to the emergency room of St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima, Ohio, for treatment and diagnosis. Deputy Baty remained at the scene of the accident to complete his investigation before continuing on to St. Rita's between 2:33 and 2:48 a.m

{¶ 3} While at St. Rita's, Meyers became combative and eventually was physically restrained by being strapped down to a gurney while wearing a neck brace. At 2:50 a.m. Meyers' blood was withdrawn by the hospital for medical treatment and diagnostic purposes. Meyers asserts that he requested an attorney before the procedure and denied consent to the blood withdrawal, citing religious reasons. Hospital records indicate that Meyers consented to the blood test but denied treatment. Conflicting testimony was submitted as to the use of an alcohol based swab by the hospital to cleanse and prepare Meyers' arm for the blood draw and Deputy Baty's assistance in the restraint of appellant and presence during the hospital's blood test.

{¶ 4} When Deputy Baty was permitted access to Meyers he advised Meyers that he was being cited for operating a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1). At 3:20 a.m. Deputy Baty read appellant the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle 2255 Implied Consent Form and requested that the appellant submit to a blood test. Appellant refused the test and requested the opportunity to speak with an attorney. Later that morning, Deputy Baty filed an R.C. 2317.02(B)(2) request with St. Rita's for the results of any blood tests conducted on appellant. The hospital produced the 2:50 a.m. test results, which indicated a blood-alcohol concentration of O.16 of one percent by weight of alcohol. Thereafter, appellant was charged with having a proscribed blood-alcohol content in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(2).

{¶ 5} On February 1, 1999, appellant moved to suppress the results of the blood test, which was heard May 17, 1999. On February 23, 2000, the trial court overruled the motion. Appellant subsequently withdrew his not guilty plea and entered a plea of no contest to the R.C 4511.19(A)(2) charge. The state of Ohio dismissed the remaining charges, and appellant was convicted of and sentenced for the R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) violation. From this conviction and sentencing, this timely appeal followed.

{¶ 6} Appellant presents the following three assignments of error.

Assignment of Error Number One

{¶ 7} "The trial court committed error prejudicial to the defendant-appellant in finding that the test results of the defendant's blood should not have been

146 Ohio App.3d 569
suppressed since the blood sample was not drawn or tested in accordance with provisions of the Director of the Department of Health of the State of Ohio."

{¶ 8} In his first assignment of error, appellant contends that the state failed to show that the blood sample was withdrawn in substantial compliance with standards promulgated by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health. Appellant therefore concludes that the evidence was inadmissible and should have been suppressed.

{¶ 9} In a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence, the trial court assumes the role of trier of fact and is in the best position to resolve questions of fact and to evaluate the credibility of witnesses.1 When reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress, an appellate court must accept the trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence.2 An appellate court must independently determine, without deferring to the trial court's conclusions, whether, as a matter of law, the facts meet the applicable standard.3

{¶ 10} Generally, in order for the results of an alcohol test to be admitted at trial, the prosecution must satisfy certain foundational requirements by showing the following: (1) the bodily substance was withdrawn within two hours of the alleged violation; (2) methods approved by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health ("ODH") guided the analysis; and (3) a qualified individual conducted the analysis.4 However, the state herein has challenged the application of these foundational requirements where the alcohol test was conducted independently by a hospital for treatment and diagnostic purposes. The state argues that R.C. 4511.19(D)(1) requires compliance only where the test was conducted at the request of a law enforcement officer.

{¶ 11} Nothing in R.C. 4511.19 or 3701.143 expressly limits the application of 4511.19(D)(1) as the state suggests. Instead, the state interprets R.C. 4511.19(D)(1) as though the third paragraph, requiring compliance with ODH mandates, is independent of the first paragraph and solely related to the second paragraph and its "at the request of a police officer" language. R.C. 4511.19(D)(1) provides:

{¶ 12} "In any criminal prosecution * * * for a violation of this section * * * the court may admit evidence on the concentration of alcohol * * * in the

146 Ohio App.3d 570
defendant's blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance at the time of the alleged violation as shown by chemical analysis of the defendant's blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance withdrawn within two hours of the time of the alleged violation

{¶ 13} "When a person submits to a blood test at the request of a police officer under section 4511.191 of the Revised Code, only a physician, a registered nurse, or a qualified technician or chemist shall withdrawal blood for the purpose of determining its alcohol, drug, or alcohol and drug content. This limitation does not apply to the taking of breath or urine specimens. * * *

{¶ 14} "Such bodily substance shall be analyzed in accordance with methods approved by the director of health by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the director of health pursuant to section 3701.143 of the Revised Code."

{¶ 15} Further, R.C. 3701.143 provides:

{¶ 16} "For purposes of section 4511.19 of the Revised Code, the director of health shall determine, or cause to be determined, techniques or methods for chemically analyzing a person's blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance in order to ascertain the amount of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or alcohol and a drug of abuse in the person's blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance. The director shall approve satisfactory techniques or methods, ascertain the qualifications of individuals to conduct such analyses, and issue permits to qualified persons authorizing them to perform such analyses. Such permits shall be subject to termination or revocation at the discretion of the director."

{¶ 17} The Ohio Supreme Court has emphasized that "it is well established that in a charge of violating R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) through (4) `the accuracy of the test results is a critical issue in determining a defendant's guilt or innocence.'"5 And that "the admissibility of test results to establish alcoholic concentration under R.C. 4511.19 turns on substantial compliance with ODH regulations."6 In State v. Ripple,7 the Ohio Supreme Court discussed the use of chemical tests in R.C. 4511.19 prosecutions, stating:

{¶ 18} "In our view, the language of R.C. 4511.19(D) is clear, unmistakable and, above all, mandatory. * * * While other evidence of drug use may be admitted in a prosecution brought under R.C. 4511.19, it is clear that the General

146 Ohio App.3d 571
Assembly has foreclosed the use of chemical drug analysis of bodily substances, unless and until the Director of Health approves such a method

{¶ 19} "Therefore, we hold that absent approval of methods by the Director of Health pertaining to the testing of bodily substances for drugs, a chemical analysis purporting to indicate the presence of drugs in an accused is inadmissible in a prosecution brought pursuant to R.C. 4511.19."

{¶ 20} The Ripple court unequivocally indicated that the Revised Code requires the promulgation of standards by the Director of Health, and makes compliance with those standards a condition precedent for the admission into evidence of drug or alcohol testing conducted for the purposes of establishing intoxication in prosecutions for driving under the influence.8 Furthermore, our research indicates that, without significant discussion, courts have generally required that independent bodily substance tests comply with the ODH mandates and other R.C. 4511.19(D)(1) provisions.9 Therefore, we find that application of ODH standards to the state's use of privately drawn bodily substance tests in R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) through (4) prohibited concentration violations logically follows from the language, purpose, and case law construing these statutory...

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  • State v. Clark, 5–13–34.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • 3 Noviembre 2014
    ...Amendment and the exclusionary rule apply only to government action and not to the actions of private persons.” State v. Meyers, 146 Ohio App.3d 563, 575, 767 N.E.2d 739 (3d Dist.2001). Therefore, he does not challenge the hospital's action of drawing his blood and performing the medical te......
  • State v. Little
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • 3 Noviembre 2014
    ...first and second suppression motions. (R. at 26.) In its response, the State cited this Court's previous case of State v. Meyers, 146 Ohio App.3d 563, 767 N.E.2d 739 (3d Dist.2001), contending that the blood testing by the hospital “in the course of independent medical treatment and diagnos......
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • 11 Agosto 2010
    ...statute to include a specific exception permitting law enforcement to obtain test results for alcohol and drugs. See State v. Meyers, 146 Ohio App.3d 563, 767 N.E.2d 739, 747 (2001) ("In 1993, the General Assembly abrogated the physician-patient privilege in the context of criminal investig......
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    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • 22 Agosto 2003
    ...672. 36 Id. at 223, 553 N.E.2d 672. 37 See State v. Slageter (Mar. 31, 2000), 1st Dist. No. C-990584, 2000 WL 331633; State v. Meyers, 146 Ohio App.3d 563, 2001-Ohio-2282, 767 N.E.2d 739, at f 39; State v. Hodge (Nov. 29, 1999), 12th Dist. Nos. CA99-01-001 and CA99-01-002, 1999 WL 38 See St......
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