Salt Lake City v. Reedy

Annotate this Case
Salt Lake City v. Reedy, Case No. 20000185-CA, Filed July 6, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


Salt Lake City,
Plaintiff and Appellee,


Ricky D. Reedy,
Defendant and Appellant.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20000185-CA

July 6, 2001 2001 UT App 213 -----

Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Robin W. Reese

Francis J. Nielson, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Simarjit Singh Gill and Don M. Wrye, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Bench, Orme, and Thorne.

ORME, Judge:

Although the trial court, in refusing to suppress the blood-draw evidence, concluded that an arrest of the defendant had occurred and that the requirements of Utah's implied consent law had been satisfied, "'[i]t is well-settled that an appellate court may affirm a trial court's ruling on any proper grounds, even though the trial court relied on some other ground.'" State v. Bredehoft, 966 P.2d 285, 292 (Utah Ct. App. 1998) (quoting DeBry v. Noble, 889 P.2d 428, 444 (Utah 1995)), cert. denied, 982 P.2d 88 (Utah 1999). While we affirm the trial court's ruling, we do so on the ground that defendant consented to his blood being drawn.

The facts of this case demonstrate that following Officer Hardin's detailed explanation of DUI procedures to defendant, including the possible administrative consequences of refusing to submit to a blood draw, defendant ultimately consented to have his blood drawn.(1) This court has consistently held that once an officer obtains actual consent, the investigation is no longer constrained by the requirements of Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-44.10(2)(a) (2000), because consent no longer has to be implied. See State v. Pascoe, 774 P.2d 512, 514 (Utah Ct. App. 1989) (holding that because actual consent was given, arrest was not a necessary precondition to blood-draw, and, therefore, results of blood alcohol test were admissible). Because Officer Hardin obtained actual consent to have defendant's blood drawn, we need not address the statutory interpretation issue briefed and argued by the parties.

Once it has been determined that actual consent was given, as in this case, the only remaining issue is whether that consent was voluntary. In Bredehoft, this court explained that determining "'whether the requisite voluntariness exists depends on "the totality of all the surrounding circumstances."'" 966 P.2d at 292 (citations omitted). In that case, we provided five factors to be used as a guide in evaluating the voluntariness of a consent: "1) the absence of a claim of authority to search by the officers; 2) the absence of an exhibition of force by the officers; 3) a mere request to search; 4) cooperation by [the party being searched]; and 5) the absence of deception or trick on the part of the officer." Id. at 293 (quoting State v. Whittenback, 621 P.2d 103, 106 (Utah 1980)). In applying these factors, we concluded that "the warrantless draw and ensuing chemical analysis of Bredehoft's blood did not violate the Fourth Amendment." Id. We noted that Bredehoft consented in an ambulance, not a patrol car; there was only one officer present; there were no weapons drawn; the officer made no express claim of authority to draw the blood; and the officer did not exhibit any force, nor engage in deception or trickery. See id.

We reach the same conclusion in this case. Similar to Bredehoft, defendant was interviewed at the hospital rather than in the back of the patrol car. Further, Officer Hardin never drew his weapon, nor did he claim to have authority, outside of the defendant's consent, to draw his blood. Officer Hardin did not exhibit any force nor engage in trickery or deception. The two "additional relevant considerations" mentioned in Bredehoft as also bearing on voluntariness in the warrantless blood-draw context, i.e., "whether the defendant resisted the blood-draw or reasonably believed the blood was being drawn for medical rather than law enforcement purposes," are answered in the negative in this case as they were in Bredehoft. Id. at 293.


Gregory K. Orme, Judge -----


Russell W. Bench, Judge

William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge

1. The record indicates that defendant initially refused to have his blood drawn but consented after Officer Hardin properly explained to him that, under Utah law, temporary loss of his license was a potential consequence of refusing a blood test during a DUI investigation. This explanation, because it was an accurate disclosure, cannot be regarded as improper coercion tainting defendant's consent. See State v. Bobo, 803 P.2d 1268, 1274 (Utah Ct. App. 1990) (stating police officer's "truthful declaration[s]" do not constitute coercion).