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State v. Collier

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 15, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
KATHERINE HART COLLIER

          Session: October 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 25122 Stella Hargrove, Judge

         The State of Tennessee appeals the Maury County Circuit Court's orders suppressing evidence and dismissing the indictment, which charged the Defendant with driving under the influence (DUI), DUI per se, violating the implied consent law, failure to maintain a motor vehicle within a lane of traffic, and violating the open container law. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred by granting the Defendant's motion to suppress the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) evidence and by dismissing the indictment. We conclude that the trial court did not err by suppressing the evidence but that the court erred by dismissing the indictment in its entirety. Although we affirm the dismissal of the indictment count charging DUI per se, we remand the case to the trial court for reinstatement of the remaining charges in the indictment and for further proceedings.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed in Part; Reversed in Part; Case Remanded

          John S. Colley III, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Katherine Hart Collier.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Brent Cooper, District Attorney General; and Adam C. Davis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

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

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE

         This case involves a March 13, 2016 traffic stop, during which the Defendant was arrested for DUI and related offenses. The Defendant did not consent to a blood draw in order to determine her BAC level, and as a result, the arresting officer obtained a search warrant from a magistrate to obtain the Defendant's blood for an analysis. O n December 30, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to suppress, which challenged the validity of the warrant and sought a dismissal the indictment.

         Preliminary Hearing

         At the preliminary hearing, Maury County Police Officer Ashton Matheny testified that on March 13, 2016, he saw the Defendant's car drive across the center line and that he followed the Defendant for about one mile. Officer Matheny stated that he saw the Defendant's car drive across the center line several times and that he stopped the Defendant's car at about 7:40 p.m. Officer Matheny said that the Defendant's speech was slurred, that her breath smelled of alcohol, and that two children were in her car. Officer Matheny said that he asked the Defendant if she had been drinking and that she admitted drinking wine at about 4:00 p.m.

         Officer Matheny testified that he asked the Defendant to get out of the car, that the Defendant said she did not know why she was stopped, and that the Defendant asked if he were "trying to frame her." Officer Matheny said that he knew the Defendant was the city manager and that he told her he was not trying to frame her. Officer Matheny stated that the Defendant performed the walk-and-turn and the one-leg stand tests and that the Defendant did not follow instructions and performed the tests poorly.

         Officer Matheny testified that he arrested the Defendant for DUI, that he drove the Defendant to the hospital, and that the Defendant refused to consent to a blood draw. O fficer Matheny said that he took the Defendant to the jail and that he applied for a search warrant. He stated that the magistrate granted the search warrant and that he and the Defendant returned to the hospital for a blood draw.

         Officer Matheny testified that the affidavit and search warrant marked "original" listed the time of issuance as "2044 a.m." and that the Defendant's copy of the warrant listed the time of issuance as "2244 p.m." Officer Matheny said that both the original search warrant and the Defendant's copy listed the time of execution as "2100." Officer Matheny said that the warrant was issued at "2044" and that the time discrepancies were clerical errors.

         Officer Matheny testified that a form for an affidavit and search warrant was maintained on file, that he printed four forms, and that he filled in each blank on each form. Officer Matheny stated that he provided the four forms to Maury County Magistrate Lawrence Bull and that Magistrate Bull filled in the date and time and signed each form. The State asked Officer Matheny if each form would be "just a little bit different in terms of how they're written, " and Officer Matheny said that the wording would be the same on each form but the penmanship would be different.

          On cross-examination, Officer Matheny compared the original search warrant with the Defendant's copy and testified that the forms looked identical, noting he "wrote them all." Officer Matheny stated he did not know at the time of the blood draw that the time of issuance on each warrant was different. Officer Matheny said that he did not inform Magistrate Bull after the blood draw that a mistake existed and that he did not know the time entered in the magistrate's logbook had been changed from "2244" to "2044." Officer Matheny stated his copy of the warrant did not reflect a time of issuance.

         Officer Matheny testified that the Defendant was unable to walk heel-to-toe during the field sobriety test and that she used her arms for balance, took an incorrect number of steps, and made an improper turn. Officer Matheny said that he asked the Defendant to "imagine a straight line" from the bumper of his police car to the Defendant's car because no roadway line was available. Officer Matheny stated that he did not recall whether the roadway had a center line when he stopped the Defendant's car but conceded the roadway might have had a fog line. Officer Matheny said that the Defendant displayed poor balance on the one-leg stand test.

         Officer Matheny testified that he did not believe Magistrate Bull was present when he returned the Defendant to the jail after the blood draw. O fficer Matheny stated that the arrest warrants were entered as "2205" in the magistrate's logbook and that Magistrate Bull logged the arrest warrants. On redirect examination, Officer Matheny testified that he filled out each warrant individually after printing the forms from a computer.

         Maury County Magistrate Lawrence Bull testified for the defense that he filled in the date and the time of issuance on each search warrant and that he mistakenly circled "a.m." on the original warrant. Magistrate Bull stated that he signed the four search warrants and that he was unaware of the time discrepancies until after the warrant was executed. Magistrate Bull said that he changed the time of issuance in his logbook from "2244" to "2044" while documenting the search warrant and that he immediately caught his error. Magistrate Bull acknowledged that he wrote a time of "2244" on Officer Matheny's affidavit and on the Defendant's copy of the search warrant and that the times were clerical errors.

         Magistrate Bull testified that he was present when Officer Matheny arrived at the jail after the blood draw and that he entered the arrest warrants for the Defendant in the logbook at "2205." M agistrate Bull was asked if the original and the copies of the search warrant had to be "identical, " and he responded, "I would say so."

         The general sessions court found that probable cause existed but refused to rule on the motion to suppress the blood analysis results because the analysis had not yet been completed. The court, however, opined that the time discrepancies were ...


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