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State v. Jones

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

September 9, 2013

STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM JONES, Defendant.

Submitted: July 2, 2013

Upon Defendant's Motion to Suppress, GRANTED.

Periann Doko, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.

Michael M. Modica, Esquire, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant William C. Jones, III.

M. Jane Brady Superior Court Judge

I. Introduction

Before the Court is William C. Jones, III's ("Defendant") Amended Motion to Suppress all evidence, including blood test results resulting from the warrantless, forced blood extraction, obtained by police authorities following his detention on October 24, 2012. The Motion to Suppress alleges violations of the Defendant's Federal and State constitutional rights (Fourth Amendment and Article One, Section Six, respectively) prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as a violation of 21 Del. C. § 2740.[1]Defendant also contends that Officer Donmoyer "did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause [to] administer a blood test, or to arrest the [D]efendant for DUI."[2]

The Suppression hearing was conducted on April 19, 2013. On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States published their decision in the case of Missouri v. McNeely, [3] regarding the warrantless extraction of blood from a person under arrest for DUI. At the hearing the Court heard argument on McNeely's applicability to the present Motion and asked for supplemental briefing. The final supplemental brief was received in chambers on July 2, 2013.

II. Facts

At around 12:09 a.m. on October 24, 2012, Officer Donmoyer of the New Castle City Police Department, while conducting stationary patrol in a marked patrol vehicle near East Basin Road, New Castle, observed a motorcycle enter the intersection of East Basin Road and Frenchtown Road at a high rate of speed. Officer Donmoyer made the following observations: the operator of the motorcycle had difficulty stopping at a red light; the operator almost hit another vehicle; the operator lost traction and "fish-tailed" as he turned onto Frenchtown Road; and the operator passed three vehicles in the opposite lane of traffic. Officer Donmoyer approached the vehicle and activated his emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop. The operator continued to drive in an attempt to flee from Officer Donmoyer. The operator then lost control of the motorcycle and crashed into a parked vehicle on Valley Forge Road. The operator then proceeded to flee on foot until he was caught by Officer Donmoyer. The operator was identified as the Defendant.

Upon placing the Defendant in handcuffs, Officer Donmoyer detected the odor of alcohol, and observed that the Defendant was naked from the waist down—having apparently lost his shoes, socks, pants, and underwear in the collision. Field sobriety tests were not administered because the Defendant refused to submit to a PBT test at the scene and also because the Defendant complained of injuries to his leg.[4] The Defendant was then taken to Christiana Hospital by Corporal Dempsey.[5] Officer Donmoyer requested a blood test be administered at the hospital. Because the Defendant refused to submit to a blood test, he was restrained and held down by a Constable.[6] Defendant was arraigned at 8:09 a.m. at which point, he did agree to a PBT test.[7] Those results showed a BAC of .029.[8]

III. Parties' Contentions

Defendant contends that Officer Donmoyer lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to administer the blood test, or to arrest him for DUI.[9]

Defendant also asserts that, in light of the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely, Officer Donmoyer violated the Defendant's State and Federal constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures by the forced extraction of his blood in the absence of a search warrant, or sufficient probable cause and exigent circumstances to justify a warrantless blood extraction.[10]

IV. Standard of Review

In a Motion to Suppress, the State must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the challenged search or seizure did not violate the ...


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