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People v. Brooks

Supreme Court of Illinois

November 30, 2017


          JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Karmeier and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Garman, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.


          BURKE JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 The defendant, Michael Brooks, was charged with driving under the influence following a single-vehicle motorcycle accident. He filed a motion to suppress the results of blood-alcohol testing on the ground that the blood draw performed at the hospital after his accident was a governmental search conducted in violation of the fourth amendment.

         ¶ 2 The circuit court granted defendant's motion, and the appellate court affirmed (2016 IL App (5th) 150095-U). We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal. Ill. S.Ct. R. 315 (eff. Mar. 15, 2016). For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgments of the lower courts.

         ¶ 3 Background

         ¶ 4 Defendant was charged in the circuit court of Effingham County with driving under the influence (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2014)) following a single-vehicle motorcycle accident on August 14, 2014. On October 30, 2014, defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of a blood-alcohol analysis that was performed at St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital (St. Anthony's) on the night of the accident.

         ¶ 5 In his motion, defendant briefly alleged that, after the accident, police officers forcibly "placed him in an ambulance and sent him to the hospital, " even though he had refused medical treatment. Citing People v. Armer, 2014 IL App (5th) 130342, the motion asserted that a blood draw subsequently performed at the hospital was a governmental search conducted without a warrant, without his consent, and in the absence of exigent circumstances. Thus, according to the motion, the blood draw violated defendant's fourth amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search. Defendant's motion did not challenge the legality of the police officers' seizure of defendant when he was forced to go to the hospital. Rather, the motion contended only that the blood draw performed at the hospital was an unlawful search.

         ¶ 6 On December 9, 2014, while defendant's motion was pending, the State issued a subpoena duces tecum to St. Anthony's directing it to produce "[a]ll lab results ('blood work')" originating from defendant's admission on or about August 14, 2014. The subpoena requested that the hospital produce the results of defendant's blood work in a sealed, clearly marked envelope and send it to the Effingham County circuit clerk. A docket entry reflects the court received a sealed envelope from the hospital on December 12, 2014.

         ¶ 7 Three days later, an evidentiary hearing was held on defendant's motion to suppress. At the start of the hearing, the circuit court noted it was in possession of an envelope from St. Anthony's but that it had not been opened. Defendant's counsel told the court he presumed the contents of the envelope were the subject matter of the motion to suppress. The State responded that it, too, presumed the envelope contained the results of medical blood work done on defendant when he went to the hospital. The parties, however, did not stipulate to the contents of the envelope, and the court did not open it. The hearing then began.

         ¶ 8 Defendant called police officer Thomas Webb from the Effingham police department. Webb testified that, on August 14, 2014, at approximately 11:54 p.m., he was dispatched to the scene of a single-vehicle motorcycle accident. When he arrived, Webb observed a motorcycle on a bush in the front yard of a house. He also saw an open-top Jeep across the street, approximately 100 feet from the motorcycle, where three other Effingham police officers were gathered. Webb walked across the street to the Jeep, which did not belong to defendant, and observed defendant sitting in the passenger seat with the door closed. Although none of the officers had seen defendant operating a motor vehicle, two witnesses who were present informed Webb defendant had been driving the motorcycle.

         ¶ 9 Webb spoke to defendant and, while doing so, noticed defendant's speech was slurred, his eyes were red, and he had an odor of alcohol emitting from his mouth when he spoke or yelled at the police. According to Webb, defendant appeared agitated by the presence of law enforcement. Webb believed defendant's leg was broken because his foot was "almost upside down." Webb admitted he had little medical training and defendant was not bleeding, but he believed the injury was serious. When Webb asked defendant if he wanted to go to the hospital, defendant refused. Webb was concerned about defendant's safety, as he appeared to not be thinking rationally because he was screaming and swearing at the police.

         ¶ 10 Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel who were present at the scene told Webb defendant needed to go to the hospital and requested Webb's assistance in getting him there. Although defendant continued to decline medical services, Webb ordered defendant out of the Jeep. Defendant refused. Thereafter, Webb and another officer physically removed defendant from the Jeep, placed him on a gurney, and assisted EMS personnel in putting the gurney into the ambulance.

         ¶ 11 Webb reiterated that it was EMS personnel who wanted defendant to get medical treatment and that he did not direct anyone to treat defendant. When asked why defendant was removed from the Jeep and forced to go to the hospital, Webb testified: "I briefly spoke with EMS and asked them if he was going to be transported to the hospital by them. Whenever a subject is intoxicated and a serious injury pursues, a lot of times or all the time in that case, ambulance services request or order basically that we assist them in removing a subject or putting them on the cot and transporting them to the hospital to make sure they get the medical attention that they need." Webb was not in the ambulance when EMS personnel began transporting defendant to the hospital.

         ¶ 12 Webb testified that the ambulance stopped after traveling one or two blocks because defendant was trying to get out. EMS personnel again asked the police to help in transporting defendant. Webb stated that he was concerned at this time for the safety of EMS personnel, defendant, and himself. Webb placed defendant on the gurney, handcuffed him, and rode in the ambulance the rest ...

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