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.

Commonwealth v. Riker

Supreme Court of Kentucky

December 13, 2018

COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLANT
v.
JAMES E. RIKER, JR. APPELLEE

          ON REVIEW FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NO. 2016-CA-000601-MR FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT NOS. 14-XX-00026 AND 14-T-19548.

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Andy Beshear, Attorney General of Kentucky, Carlos Aundra Ross, Special Assistant Attorney General.

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: John Lindsay Tackett.

          OPINION

          CUNNINGHAM, JUSTICE

         Around 2:30 a.m. on August 4, 2014, Lexington Police Officer Michael Steele responded to the scene of an accident in which Appellee, ("Riker"), was observed driving his vehicle into a parked car on Jersey Street in Lexington, Kentucky. Detecting the odor of alcohol on Riker, Officer Steele asked Riker to submit to field sobriety testing and a portable breath test ("PBT"). Riker agreed to do so. He failed the field sobriety testing and registered a .281 blood alcohol level on the PBT. After arresting Riker and transporting him to the Fayette County Detention Center, Officer Steele read the pertinent portion of the statutory implied consent warning to Riker and asked him to submit to an intoxilyzer test after the requisite 20-minute waiting period. Riker agreed to do so. The result of that test administered at approximately 3:45 a.m. was a .266 blood alcohol level.

         Pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 189A. 103(7) and KRS 189A. 105(4), Officer Steele then asked Riker if he desired an independent blood test at his expense at the University of Kentucky Medical Center (UKMC). Riker responded in the affirmative and was then transported by Officer Steele to UKMC. Upon arrival, the hospital receptionist informed Riker that the cost would be $450. Riker only had $100 dollars on him at the time. Since this was not enough to pay for the test, Riker informed Officer Steele to "take me back to jail."

         After an evidentiary hearing, the Fayette District Court denied Riker's motions to suppress his .266 intoxilyzer result and to dismiss his third offense DUI charge. On appeal, the Fayette Circuit Court reversed, concluding that Riker had been denied his statutory right to obtain an independent blood test. The court also determined that Riker's right to due process had been violated since the results of the independent blood test may have provided him with exculpatory evidence. The circuit court ordered that the results of the blood alcohol tests obtained by the police be suppressed. The Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the circuit court. We granted discretionary review.

         The legal issue in this case concerns the interpretation and application of two statutes permitting DUI suspects to obtain an independent blood test. For the following reasons, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.

          Analysis

         Statutory construction is a matter of law which requires de novo review by this Court. Hearn v. Commonwealth, 80 S.W.3d 432, 434 (Ky. 2002) (citing Bob Hook Chevrolet Isuzu, Inc. v. Commonwealth Transp. Cabinet, 983 S.W.2d 488 (Ky. 1998)). Claims under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause are also reviewed de novo. Caesars Riverboat Casino, LLC v. Beach, 336 S.W.3d 51, 54 (Ky. 2011).

         Statutory Right

         There are two statutes at issue here: KRS 189A. 103(7) and KRS 189A. 105(4). The former permits a DUI suspect to have a medical professional of his or her own choosing to administer a "test or tests in addition to any tests administered at the direction of the peace officer." KRS 189A. 105(4) is similar but more specific. It provides:

Immediately following the administration of the final test requested by the officer, the person shall again be informed of his right to have a test or tests of his blood performed by a person of his choosing described in KRS 189A. 103 within a reasonable time of his arrest at the expense of the person arrested. He shall then be asked "Do you want such a test?" The officer shall make reasonable efforts to provide transportation to the tests.

         The plain language of this section lists three requirements: 1) that the officer inform the suspect of his or her right to have the independent test or tests performed; 2) the officer must specifically ask "[d]o you want such a test?"; and 3) that the officer "make reasonable efforts to provide transportation to the tests." Id. (Emphasis added). The only portion of this statute that is remotely ambiguous is the latter. In any event, the reasonableness of the officer's efforts to provide transportation is not at issue in the present case. No other express provision of the ...


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.