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04/28/89 the People of the State of v. Ronald Galbreath

April 28, 1989





538 N.E.2d 200, 182 Ill. App. 3d 519, 131 Ill. Dec. 12, 131 Ill. Dec. 268 1989.IL.628

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Coles County; the Hon. Ashton C. Waller, Jr., Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. LUND and SPITZ, JJ., concur.


Defendant Ronald Galbreath was charged July 31, 1987, with driving under the influence of alcohol in violation of section 11-501(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Vehicle Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)). Prior to trial on June 21, 1988, the defendant's attorney filed a motion in limine requesting no testimony be permitted as to the defendant's blood-alcohol test. After an offer of proof by the State, the trial court granted the motion in limine. The State subsequently moved to terminate trial and filed a certificate of substantial impairment.

The State appeals pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (107 Ill. 2d R. 604(a)(1)) and People v. Flatt (1980), 82 Ill. 2d 250, 257, 412 N.E.2d 509, which allows the State to appeal an "order . . . the substantive effect of which results in dismissing a charge . . ., suppressing evidence." Here the State alleges an abuse of discretion by the trial court in granting the motion in limine since foundation for the admission of blood-alcohol tests was adequate.

Although the defendant did not file a brief on appeal, an automatic reversal is not required. The trial record is simple, and we are able to decide the case on the basis of the merits in the State's argument. (First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp. (1976), 63 Ill. 2d 128, 133, 345 N.E.2d 493, 495.) We reverse.

At around 3 a.m. on July 31, 1987, defendant was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)) by City of Charleston police officer Brenda Arnold. After a one-vehicle motorcycle accident, the defendant was taken to Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital for treatment of injuries. At the hospital, Debra Wildes, a medical technician, took blood samples from the defendant in the presence of the arresting officer. The officer placed the samples in an evidence kit and later took them to a police evidence locker. Charleston police officer John Paddock removed the blood samples from the evidence locker and sent them by certified mail to the Illinois State Police Forensics Lab in Springfield, Illinois. There a forensic toxicologist examined the samples to determine blood-alcohol content.

Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion in limine to prevent the State from referring to the results of the blood tests. The defendant alleged a lack of foundation since the State did not follow proper procedures outlined in the Department of Public Health's "Standards and Procedures For Withdrawal of Blood and/or Urine Samples for Chemical Analysis of Alcohol or other Drug Content" (77 Ill. Adm. Code § 510.110 (1985)). Before ruling on the motion, the trial Judge requested an offer of proof by the State. At hearing, the State presented testimony of the arresting officer, the medical technician who drew the blood samples, the officer who mailed the samples to the forensics lab, and the forensic toxicologist who received and analyzed the defendant's blood samples. The defendant claimed a proper foundation was not established for the admission of the blood sample into evidence. The trial Judge agreed and granted the motion stating, "I don't think the evidence I have heard is satisfactory. I don't think her (the medical technician's) statement in a general way about the procedure she generally followed standing alone is sufficient foundation."

The primary issue in this case is whether blood-sampling procedures were properly followed according to Illinois Department of Public Health standards (77 Ill. Adm. Code § 510.110 (1985)). The record shows the medical technician adhered to these standards.

The samples were "collected in the presence of the arresting officer." (77 Ill. Adm. Code § 510.110(a)(1) (1985).) A trained and authorized phlebotomist collected the blood sample. (77 Ill. Adm. Code 510.110(a)(2) (1985).) The blood samples were properly labeled. (77 Ill. Adm. Code § 510.110(a)(4)(i) (1985).) The blood samples were "delivered to a laboratory certified by the Department." (77 Ill. Adm. Code § 510.110(a)(4)(1985).) Two blood samples were retained. 77 Ill. Adm. Code §§ 510.110(a)(3), (a)(4)through (a)(4)(1985).

Sections 510.110(a)(3) and (a)(4)through (a)(4)of the Illinois Administrative Code (Code) require special procedures to be followed so nothing interferes with the integrity of the blood samples. This includes cleaning the skin with disinfectants containing no alcohol and storing the blood samples in containers with anticoagulants and preservatives which would not interfere with the alcohol-content analysis.

At the hearing, the medical technician testified she did not specifically remember performing these special procedures on the defendant, as she draws around 100 samples a week. However, she testified she was familiar with these procedures and had never deviated from them. The trial court ruled her ...

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