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State v. Martinez

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

November 21, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
PASCASIO MARTINEZ

         Session: April 26, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 105827 Scott Green, Judge No. E2016-01401-CCA-R3-CD

         The Defendant, Pascasio Martinez, was convicted by a jury of two counts of driving under the influence (DUI), a Class A misdemeanor, and two counts of DUI, fourth offense, a Class E felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 55-10-401, -402(a)(4). The trial court merged the Defendant's convictions and imposed a sentence of two years' confinement with 150 days of mandatory service. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred in admitting the results of forensic testing on the Defendant's blood because the State failed to establish "a valid chain of custody"; (2) that the use of the Defendant's official driver record to prove his prior DUI convictions violated his Confrontation Clause rights; and (3) that the Defendant's official driver record was not sufficient evidence to establish his prior DUI convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and Denise Maryam Faili (at trial) and Jonathan Patrick Harwell (at trial and on appeal), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Pascasio Martinez.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Gregory Eshbaugh and Joe Welker, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

          At approximately 2:30 a.m. on August 9, 2014, Knoxville Police Department (KPD) Officer Darrin Carden was assisting other KPD officers in a traffic stop just off of Chapman Highway. Officer Carden testified that he saw a silver SUV "traveling northbound" toward downtown Knoxville with "no lights on at all." Officer Carden and his partner got in their patrol car and "went after the vehicle traveling without headlights." Officer Carden admitted that he lost sight of the SUV "for a just a second" as it went over a hill. However, Officer Carden testified that he caught up with the SUV at a red light and that he was "very sure that it was [] the same vehicle, " even though the SUV's lights were on by the time Officer Carden got to the red light.

         Officer Carden pulled over the SUV. Officer Carden testified that the Defendant was the driver of the SUV. According to Officer Carden, there "was a strong odor of alcohol" coming from the SUV and "on [the Defendant's] breath." The Defendant told Officer Carden that he was "coming from a bar" and had drunk two beers that night. Officer Carden recalled that when he asked the Defendant to turn off the vehicle, the Defendant "actually turned the windshield wipers on." Officer Carden also recalled that the Defendant stumbled when he got out of the SUV, "was really unsteady on his feet, " and dropped his wallet.

         Officer Carden administered two field sobriety tests to the Defendant, "the walk and turn" and "the one leg stand." Officer Carden testified that on the walk and turn, the Defendant "missed [putting his] heel to [his] toe several times, " "stopped counting out loud, " and took more steps than he was instructed to take. On the one leg stand, Officer Carden testified that the Defendant "swayed, " "put his foot down, " and was not able to count past ten. Officer Carden then arrested the Defendant on suspicion of DUI based upon the SUV's initially traveling with no lights on, the Defendant's performance on the field sobriety tests, and the Defendant's general demeanor during the stop. However, Officer Carden admitted that he did not observe the Defendant's driving erratically outside of the SUV's not having its lights on when Officer Carden first observed it.

         After his arrest, the Defendant agreed to a blood draw. Officer Carden transported the Defendant to a nearby hospital. Officer Carden testified that he took the Defendant to the hospital's phlebotomy lab where a phlebotomist drew the Defendant's blood. According to Officer Carden, the phlebotomist attached the Defendant's information to the vials, sealed the vials in a plastic bag, placed the bag with the vials in a box, and gave the box to Officer Carden. Officer Carden admitted that he was not in the room when the phlebotomist drew the Defendant's blood and that he did not know the name of the phlebotomist.

         Officer Carden testified that he transported the box with the Defendant's blood samples to the police department where he placed it in a "confiscation box." Officer Carden described the confiscation box as a lockbox inside a refrigerator. According to Officer Carden, he locked the Defendant's blood samples in the confiscation box and dropped the key "inside [the box] where nobody [but a member of the KPD's confiscation department could] get it out." Officer Carden testified that it was his understanding that after he locked the samples in the ...


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