ME: Statute requiring blood draw in fatal accident without PC violates 4A; but GFE applied here

Maine’s statute that requires a blood draw of the driver in a fatal or near fatal accident without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment. Thus, the 2007 case upholding the statute is overruled. It cannot be categorized under the special needs exception because it serves a law enforcement purpose. In this case, however, the state gets the benefit of the good faith exception because the officer was relying on a statute that had been upheld before. Saufley v. Weddle, 2020 Me. LEXIS 12 (Jan. 28, 2020):

[¶29] We conclude that 29-A M.R.S. §§ 2522(2) and (3) are unconstitutional. The statute does not require that law enforcement have consent or probable cause to believe that a driver is impaired before drawing a person’s blood. Moreover, the statute is clearly intertwined with law enforcement purposes, making the special needs doctrine inapplicable. To the extent that this opinion conflicts with the Cormier decision, Cormier is overruled.

[¶30] Weddle’s blood was taken without a warrant, without his consent, and without probable cause to believe that he was impaired by alcohol at the time his blood was drawn. No exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement applies. Therefore, the warrantless blood draw performed at the scene of the accident pursuant to 29-A M.R.S. § 2522 violated Weddle’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

F. The Exclusionary Rule and the Good Faith Exception

[¶31] Because we hold that Weddle’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the blood draw at the scene of the accident, we must determine what the appropriate remedy is. Generally, “[w]hen evidence is obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the judicially developed exclusionary rule usually precludes its use in a criminal proceeding against the victim of the illegal search and seizure.” Illinois v. Krull, 480 U.S. 340, 347 (1987).

[¶32] The purpose of the exclusionary rule is “to deter future unlawful police conduct and thereby effectuate the guarantee of the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.” United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338, 347 (1974). The rule “is neither intended nor able to cure the invasion of the defendant’s rights which he has already suffered.” United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 906 (1984) (quotation marks omitted). Instead, the rule acts as a remedial device that “safeguard[s] Fourth Amendment rights generally through its deterrent effect, rather than [as] a personal constitutional right of the party aggrieved.” Calandra, 414 U.S. at 348. “As with any remedial device, application of the exclusionary rule properly has been restricted to those situations in which its remedial purpose is effectively advanced.” Krull, 480 U.S. at 347.

[¶33] In determining whether the purposes of the exclusionary rule would be served in a specific case, the Supreme Court has “examined whether the rule’s deterrent effect will be achieved” and “weigh[s] the likelihood of such deterrence against the costs of withholding reliable information from the truth-seeking process.” Id. …

[¶34] In Maine, we have not previously adopted the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule, but we have acknowledged the Supreme Court’s and other jurisdictions’ application of the exception in various contexts. See e.g., State v. Nunez, 2016 ME 185, ¶¶ 1 n.1, 16-17 & n.8, 153 A.3d 84; State v. Estabrook, 2007 ME 130, ¶ 1, 932 A.2d 549. …

[¶35] Accordingly, the good faith exception has been applied when a law enforcement officer reasonably relies, in good faith, on a statute or common law rule that the officer has no reason to believe was unconstitutional and which has previously been declared constitutional by an appellate court with binding authority. See Davis v. United States, 564 U.S. 229, 241 (2011) (“Evidence obtained during a search conducted in reasonable reliance on binding precedent is not subject to the exclusionary rule.”); State v. Ward, 604 N.W.2d 517, 525-31 (Wis. 2000) (applying the good faith exception when officers executed a search pursuant to a no-knock police entry policy that had been twice approved by the state’s highest court).

[¶36] Although we have not previously relied on the good faith exception, we do so today because, in these unique circumstances, the suppression of the results of the warrantless blood draw would not serve the purpose of the exclusionary rule. The officer who ordered Weddle’s blood draw acted in good faith reliance on a statute blessed as constitutional as recently as 2007, Cormier, 2007 ME 112, ¶ 37, 928 A.2d 753, and whose predecessor statute we also upheld in State v. Roche, 681 A.2d 472, 475 (Me. 1996). Further, we note our own recent inability to reach a consensus on the handling of blood draws, see State v. LeMeunier-Fitzgerald, 2018 ME 85, ¶¶ 33-46, 188 A.3d 183 (Gorman, J., dissenting); id. ¶¶ 47-56 (Jabar, J., dissenting); id. ¶¶ 57-60 (Hjelm, J., dissenting), and, as shown in the Concurring Opinion, the view that section 2522 is constitutional still has some support, see Concurring Opinion ¶ 40. Given the unique fact pattern in this case, and the history of section 2522, suppression would serve no purpose other than to “withhold[] reliable information from the truth-seeking process” and punish an officer for performing his duty. Krull, 480 U.S. at 347.

[¶37] We therefore conclude, in this highly unusual and exceptional circumstance, that the exclusionary rule does not prohibit the admission of the results of the blood draw because the officer who ordered that draw reasonably did so in good faith reliance on section 2522 and our prior decisions.

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