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State v. Wilson

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

May 15, 2017



          William R. Stokes Justice, Superior Court.


         The matter before the court is the Defendant's Motion to Suppress evidence and statements obtained from him by law enforcement on March 20, 2016 in Augusta. Specifically, the Defendant seeks to suppress (1) statements he made after he had invoked his right to counsel following Miranda warnings; (2) the results/opinions, including any observations, of the drug impairment assessment performed on him by a certified drug recognition expert, and; (3) the results of any chemical test on a urine sample he provided to the police.

         An evidentiary hearing was held on the motion on February 17, 2017 at which Officer Anthony Drouin of the Augusta Police Department testified. State's Exhibit 1, a DVD of the time Defendant and Officer Drouin were in the booking room after a breath test had been administered, was admitted without objection.[1] Defendant's Exhibit 1, being Officer Drouin's 5-page Drug Influence Evaluation report, was also admitted without objection.

         The parties submitted memoranda of law, with the last one being received by the court on March 31, 2017. On April 21, 2017 the court issued a Procedural Order requesting the parties to provide their positions as to whether additional testimony and/or briefing was needed in light of the information in Defendant's Exhibit 1 that Officer Drouin had read the so-called "Implied Consent Form" to the Defendant. Neither party addressed the potential relevance of this during Officer Drouin's testimony, or in their post-hearing memoranda, on the question of the Defendant's consent to providing a urine sample. The Defendant responded to the court's Procedural Order and argued that the information in the report referring to the reading of the "Implied Consent Form" should not be considered by the court or, alternatively, that the reading of the "Implied Consent Form" did not constitute a valid and voluntary consent for the taking of the Defendant's urine sample. The State did not respond in writing to the court's Procedural Order.

         Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, and after consideration of the parties' written arguments, the court makes the following factual findings.


         On March 20, 2016, as the sun was setting, Officer Drouin responded to the scene of a motor vehicle accident on Eastern Avenue in Augusta. The scene was "chaotic" according to Officer Drouin because it was rush hour. Upon arriving at the scene Drouin learned that a pick-up truck had gone off the road and come to rest in the woods. The operator of the vehicle was the Defendant, Edson Wilson.

         The paramedics, who had examined the Defendant, told Officer Drouin that he appeared under the influence and Drouin himself observed that the Defendant's pupils were "restricted, " which he knew to be an indicator of drug use. The officer decided to have the Defendant perform some field sobriety tests. While at the roadside scene, and before he was taken into custody, the Defendant made a statement to the effect that he had been to the methadone clinic.

         As a result of the Defendant's performance on the field sobriety tests, the officer saw signs of impairment and decided to take him to the police department to administer a breath test. The Defendant was handcuffed and placed in the rear of the cruiser. During the ride, the Defendant mentioned that the feelings of methadone came in "waves" and that he usually pulls over when that happens. He also said that he had used pot. Officer Drouin asked no follow-up questions during the ride because he had not yet read the Defendant any Miranda warnings.

         According to Officer Drouin's report (Defendant's Exhibit 1), upon arrival at the police department he read the "Implied Consent Form" to the Defendant, who then performed a breath test.[2] The breath test produced a result of .00 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. (Defendant's Exhibit I). Officer Drouin was of the opinion that the Defendant's level of impairment did not match the test result. Accordingly, he decided that he needed a urine sample from the Defendant. He also decided to conduct a drug influence evaluation since he is a certified drug recognition expert. See 29-A M.R.S. §2526. It appears that the officer and the Defendant moved to a different room, which is when the video on the DVD begins.

         Regarding obtaining a urine sample, Officer Drouin and the Defendant had the following initial exchange:

Officer: So are you going to have to pee?
Wilson: What?
Officer: Are you going to have to pee soon?
Wilson: I'll try. If I have to.
Officer: Do you want to try right now?
Wilson: I am going to wait. I don't have to pee right now. We'll wait.

         Officer Drouin gave the Defendant a bottle of water, allowed him to make a call to his mother, and then read him the Miranda warnings. At the end of the recitation of rights, the Defendant clearly invoked his right to counsel. Officer Drouin had the Defendant sign the Miranda card and then stated: "Alright, so I do have to ask you a couple of questions, but it is just medical stuff .... make sure that you are not having a medical issue." It is apparent from the context of the conversation between the officer and the Defendant that the officer was about to begin his drug influence evaluation. Around this time Officer Drouin remarked: "So we are gonna be stuck here until you pee, so . . . drink as much water as you can."

         Officer Drouin asked the Defendant a series of questions pertaining to his physical health, such as whether he was diabetic or epileptic, whether he was sick or injured, whether he took insulin, whether he had any physical deficits and whether he was under the care of a physician or dentist. The Defendant responded in the negative to all of the questions, except that he told the officer that "I go to the methadone clinic every morning" in Waterville.

         Officer Drouin took the Defendant's pulse (multiple times), temperature, blood pressure and muscle tone, and performed the horizontal gaze nystagmus examination. He had the Defendant perform several field sobriety tests including the "one-leg stand, " the "walk and turn, " the "finger to nose" and the "Romberg Modified Balance" examination that required the Defendant to estimate the passage of 30 seconds in his head, apparently to assess whether his "internal clock" was either fast or slow. Officer Drouin formed the ...

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