Iowa v. drunk driving defendant
Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm PLC - des moines iowa OWI DUI attorneys
state of iowa fails to preserve evidence
after forced blood draw
PRESS RELEASE: DES MOINES IOWA. JUNE 17, 2009. Iowa Court of Appeals throws out blood test result but refuses to dismiss Vehicular Homicide charge.
In the decision entered in State of Iowa vs. Andrea LaForge, the Iowa Court of Appeals determined that the blood test result of .057 could not be used against Ms. LaForge at trial because law enforcement withdrew the blood without her consent and without her first being placed under arrest. The Court of Appeals, however, also concluded that the Vehicular Homicide charge against Ms. LaForge should not have been dismissed as a result of the State’s destruction of evidence.
According to the decision filed this morning, following the forced extraction of her blood, Ms. LaForge with the assistance of her attorney, sent a written request to the Iowa State Patrol, Polk County Sheriff’s Department and Polk County Attorney’s Office, requesting the preservation of “any and all bodily fluids withdrawn or obtained for the purpose of scientific testing.” Following the State’s testing of the blood, the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation sent a report documenting its findings to the Iowa State Patrol and Polk County Attorney’s Office and also advised both agencies that the blood sample would be destroyed within 90 days unless there was a request made by them to preserve it. No action was taken by either agency to comply with Ms. LaForge’s request to preserve and the sample was subsequently destroyed before charges were filed. According to the Court of Appeals decision, despite the request by the defense to preserve the evidence, Ms. LaForge could not show bad faith or that the evidence would have been exculpatory and thus, the dismissal originally ordered by the District Court was not appropriate.
Ms. LaForge’s criminal defense attorney, Robert Rehkemper, was pleased with the Court’s conclusion that the blood was illegally withdrawn but will be requesting further review by the Iowa Supreme Court regarding the destruction of evidence portion of the decision.
According to Mr. Rehkemper, “When a defendant requests evidence be preserved, the State should never be permitted to ignore the request and destroy the evidence without consequences. If a defendant engages in this conduct, she is charged with an additional criminal offense called Obstruction of Justice. There are CEO’s in prison for similarly conduct. The fact that it was the State of Iowa that permitted the evidence to be destroyed should not make a difference. If anything, the State engaging in this type of conduct in a criminal prosecution should receive the same, if not more severe consequences.”
:: Attorney Robert Rehkemper ::
:: Iowa Drunk Driving Laws ::
:: Standardized Field Sobriety Tests ::
:: DUI Blood Draw ::
Forced Blood Draw Determined to be Illegal by Iowa Supreme Court
PRESS RELEASE: DES MOINES IOWA. MARCH 6, 2009. On March 6, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the suppression of a chemical blood test result obtained from our client in an operating while intoxicated charge. The court was asked to decide whether the blood test which was withdrawn without consent and without a warrant would run afoul of Iowa law. In deciding to uphold suppression of the test result, the Iowa Supreme Court determined that Iowa law requires "the peace officer, not the county attorney, reasonably believe that the delay involved in obtaining a search warrant would result in the destruction of evidence." Since the peace officer was unable to assert that "the reason he ordered the warrantless blood sample was his belief that the time it would take to obtain the warrant would result in the destruction of evidence" and instead was only relying upon the instructions of the county attorney, the statutory prerequisite for obtaining the blood sample without a warrant was not met.
Attorney Matthew Lindholm of Gourley, Rehkemper, & Lindholm, was pleased in the outcome of the decision. "This was the correct and only decision possible given the facts of this case. If the Iowa Supreme Court would have decided otherwise, they would have ignored the plain letter of the law giving police another avenue to intrude into a person's privacy without consent." A copy of this decision is available at Supreme Court Opinion.
Drunk Driving Defense Appeals Attorneys
If you've been charged with drunk driving in Iowa, do you know your rights? Do you know how to acoid a DUI - OWI charge, and get your life back?
At Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm, PLC, we are well-qualified OWI lawyers who will fight for your rights and help you get back on the road.
Additional DUI Information: