ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
French United Criminal Court
motion dated January 31, 2018, Ms. Hannan seeks to suppress
the results of a blood test which she claims was improperly
administered because, although she had ostensibly
"consented" to the blood draw, she did so because
she believed she had no choice.
court held an evidentiary hearing on January 17, 2019.
Assistant District Attorney William Barry appeared on behalf
of the State, and Attorney Peter Rodway appeared on behalf of
Ms. Hannan. The court heard testimony from Ms. Hannan as well
as from South Portland Police Officer Kaitlyn Thurlow, and in
ruling on Ms. Hannan's motion has considered the evidence
adduced at hearing as well as the arguments contained in the
parties' respective memoranda of law. See
Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Suppress Results of
Blood Test, filed March 18, 2009, and State's Memorandum
in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Suppress, filed
May 29, 2019.
facts are essentially undisputed. On July 14, 2017, Ms.
Hannan lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a
guardrail. EMTs were attending to her when Officer Thurlow
arrived at the scene. Officer Thurlow heard Ms. Hannan say
that she had had some wine before the crash, and the officer
detected the odor of intoxicants. After Ms. Hannan was taken
to the hospital for further examination, Officer Thurlow
approached Ms. Hannan in the Emergency Department and told
her that she believed Ms. Hannan "was under the
influence" and that "she would need to take [her]
blood." Ms. Hannan verbally consented and Officer
Thurlow then had her sign a consent form. Although Ms. Hannan
consented to the blood draw and signed the written consent
form, she did so because she did not believe she had the
option to refuse, having not been advised by Officer Thurlow
that she had the right to withhold consent.
Hantaan contends that suppression of the results of the blood
draw is warranted because the State failed to meet its burden
of showing that the consent was voluntary and not simply
"mere acquiescence and cooperation, " citing
State v. Boyd, 2017 ME 36.
however, is readily distinguishable because in that case the
officer did not attempt to obtain consent for the blood test.
Rather, the officer had the driver's blood drawn without
obtaining any consent and without any warnings or discussion
regarding the blood test whatsoever.
in Boyd, the issue presented in this case is whether
Ms. Hannan's purported consent was legally and
constitutionally ineffective because she had not been told
that she had the right to refuse. The U.S. Supreme Court has
expressly rejected such an argument, ruling that
"knowledge of a right to refuse is not a prerequisite of
voluntary consent.... In short, neither this Court's
prior cases, nor the traditional definition of
'voluntariness' requires proof of knowledge of a
right to refuse as the sine qua non of effective
consent to a search." Schneckloth v.
Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 234 (1973).
State v. LeMeunier-Fitzgerald, 2018 ME 85, the Law
Court applied Schneckloth in considering:
"[W]hether, given the need to prevent drivers from
operating vehicles while under the influence of intoxicants,
it is reasonable to draw a driver's blood without
procuring a warrant when the driver has consented to a blood
test after being read Maine's statutory warnings about
the consequences of refusing to submit to testing."
Id. ¶ 15. In that case, the officer, reading
verbatim from a warning form, informed the driver: "If
you are convicted of operating while under the influence ...
your failure to submit to a chemical test will be considered
an aggravating factor at sentencing which in addition to
other penalties, will subject you to a mandatory minimum
period of incarceration." Id. ¶ 4. After
receiving that warning, the driver agreed to submit to a
blood test, and a blood sample was taken from her without a
warrant. Significantly with respect to Ms. Hannan's
contention, the Law Court expressly rejected the argument
that the recital of adverse consequences stemming from a
refusal to submit undermined the voluntariness of the consent
provided. See id. ¶ 31 ("In sum, when
probable cause exists, a warrantless blood test is not
unreasonable when a driver has consented to testing after
being warned that the lower limit of a court's sentencing
range will increase if the driver refuses to submit to
testing and is ultimately convicted of OUI.").
LeMeunier-Fitzgerald, which in turn applies the U.S.
Supreme Court's ruling in Schneckloth, the court
determines from the totality of the circumstances that Ms.
Hannan's consent to the blood test was voluntary and was
neither "coerced by explicit or implicit means" nor
"induced by deceit, trickery, or
misrepresentation." 2018 ME 85, ¶ 22, Accordingly,
having found that the State has "proven by a
preponderance of the evidence, that an objective
manifestation of consent was given" by Ms.