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State v. Padgett

Court of Appeals of Georgia

November 18, 2014

THE STATE
v.
PADGETT

DUI. Troup State Court. Before Judge Little.

Judgment affirmed.

Nina M. Baker, Solicitor-General, Julian A. Mack, Assistant Solicitor-General, for appellant.

Brown & Associates, R. Jeffrey Ellington, for appellee.

DOYLE, Presiding Judge. Miller and Dillard, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 144

Doyle, Presiding Judge.

The State appeals from the grant of a motion to suppress filed by James Daniel Padgett after he was indicted for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol (" DUI" ).[1] The State contends that the trial court erred by excluding the results of a blood test performed by [329 Ga.App. 748] a hospital because the chemical analysis of the blood failed to comply with OCGA § 40-6-392 (a) (1) (A). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

There are

three fundamental principles which must be followed when conducting an appellate review of a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress. First, when a motion to suppress is heard by the trial judge, that judge sits as the trier of facts. The trial judge hears the evidence, and his findings based upon conflicting evidence are analogous to the verdict of a jury and should not be disturbed by a reviewing court if there is any evidence to support them. Second, the trial court's decision with regard to questions of fact and credibility must be accepted unless clearly erroneous. Third, the reviewing court must construe the evidence most favorably to the upholding of the trial court's findings and judgment. These principles apply equally whether the trial court ruled in favor of the State or the defendant.[2]

To the extent that " the evidence at a suppression hearing is uncontroverted and the credibility of witnesses is not in question, we conduct a de novo review of the trial court's application of the law to the undisputed facts." [3]

For purposes of the motion to suppress, the parties do not dispute that an ambulance took Padgett to a hospital for medical treatment after an officer responded to the scene of his motorcycle wreck. Once the officer arrived at the hospital, based on his observations of Padgett at the scene, including an alco-sensor test, the officer administered an implied consent warning and requested that Padgett submit to a blood test, and Padgett consented. At the officer's direction, Padgett's blood was drawn by a registered nurse at the hospital, but the officer did not retain the sample for testing or request that it be sent to the State crime lab. Instead, the

Page 145

blood sample was tested by the hospital, and the result was entered into Padgett's medical record. Thereafter, the officer obtained a search warrant for Padgett's medical record, and ...


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