Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Martin

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

January 11, 2019

STATE of Alabama
v.
Sylvia MARTIN.

         Rehearing Denied March 1, 2019.

         Appeal from Autauga Circuit Court (CC-17-149)

          Steve Marshall , atty. gen., and J. Thomas Leverette , asst. atty. gen., for appellant.

          Richard D. Lively , Montgomery, for appellee.

         JOINER, Judge.

         Sylvia Martin was indicted for chemical endangerment of a child, see § 26-15-3.2, Ala. Code 1975. Martin filed a pretrial motion to suppress the urine and meconium test results obtained by Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery, Alabama, following the birth of her child.[1] On April 26, 2018, after a hearing, the circuit

Page 1217

court issued an order granting the motion to suppress. The State appeals.

         At the hearing on the motion to suppress, Martin challenged the admissibility of the test results based on two grounds: (1) that the results were unreliable and not properly authenticated pursuant to Rule 901, Ala. R. Evid.; and (2) that the results were obtained during an unconstitutional search under the Fourth Amendment. In response, the State argued and the circuit court held as follows:

"[Prosecutor]: As to the defense's lack of authenticity argument, the State would argue that it's an untimely argument. This is an evidentiary matter. And whether or not the State can authenticate the documents is something that we're going to get to at trial. We're going to subpoena witnesses at that point, we're going to subpoena the people from the lab, if necessary, to authenticate the results, to explain the procedure to the jury. So we believe that the lack of authenticity argument is untimely. Additionally, it meets the business records exception to the Hearsay Rule. Even if this Court were to decide, at the time of trial, that it did not meet such a hearsay exception, we could offer that drug screen, not for the truth of the matter, but to show its effect on law enforcement or on what the hospital staff did as a result of the positive test.
"THE COURT: Why would that be relevant?
"[Prosecutor]: Well, I believe that treatment to some extent or monitoring is required if a baby tests positive for controlled substance. And so the medical staff would have treated the baby accordingly.
"THE COURT: I think the problem you've got really is one that you're not addressing, and that is the very face of the test says that it's not—has not been confirmed, has not been conducted by the hospital, they don't conduct the test. It says in plain black and white that it's not to be used for legal—you know, it's not intended to be. It has not been confirmed. They don't say it's not reliable, but they say everything but, that it's not reliable. It's not approved by the FDA. There has to be some indicia of reliability before the Court gets the evidence that could frankly turn the issues in the case. And I think [defense counsel's] point is well taken concerning the very face of the test itself. If you want to talk to me about that, I would certainly be happy to hear what you have to say.
"....
"[Prosecutor]: The law still allows for its admission under the business records exemption of the Hearsay Rule, As to authenticity—
"THE COURT: I disagree with you on that.
"[Prosecutor]: — we can call the individuals that conducted the test, the methods that they used, how reliable their tests are. This is not a document that speaks for itself. We're going to have to call a witness to authenticate the document and that witness is going to explain to the jury why what they do is correct and why the results—
"THE COURT: You're going to get somebody from Warde Medical ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.