OH1: Warrantless procedure for police obtaining medical records violates 4A, but GFE applied here

State law provided for a warrantless procedure to obtain medical records for OVI cases. The court finds it violates the Fourth Amendment, but it refuses to apply the exclusionary rule because the officer reasonably relied on state law to access the evidence, citing Davis and Krull. State v. Eads, 2020-Ohio-2805, 2020 Ohio App. LEXIS 1781 (1st Dist. May 6, 2020):

[*P38] Eads additionally argues the trial court erred by failing to apply the exclusionary rule to the illegally obtained blood-alcohol test results. The exclusionary rule was created as a judicial remedy for governmental violations of the Fourth Amendment. Davis v. United States, 564 U.S. 229, 236, 131 S.Ct. 2419, 180 L.Ed.2d 285 (2011); Illinois v. Krull, 480 U.S. 340, 347, 107 S.Ct. 1160, 94 L.Ed.2d 364 (1987); State v. Banks-Harvey, 152 Ohio St. 3d 368, 2018-Ohio-201, 96 N.E.3d 262, ¶ 25; State v. Johnson, 141 Ohio St. 3d 136, 2014-Ohio-5021, 22 N.E.3d 1061, ¶ 50. The main purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter unlawful police conduct in the future. Davis at 236-237; Banks-Harvey at ¶ 25; Johnson at ¶ 50.

[*P39] Courts have held that suppression is not an available remedy when a law enforcement officer conducted a search in good-faith reliance on some higher authority. This includes a statute or binding precedent, even if the statute or precedent were later held unconstitutional or overruled. Davis at 241; Illinois v. Krull, 480 U.S. 340, 107 S.Ct. 1160, 94 L.Ed.2d 364 (1987); Johnson at ¶ 4 and 42. The issue of good-faith revolves around whether “it was objectively reasonable for the officer[ ] to rely on the statute at the time of the search.” United States v. Carpenter, 926 F.3d 313, 318 (6th Cir.2019). The trial court in this case found that it was.

[*P40] Eads argues it was not objectively reasonable for the officer to rely on R.C. 2317.02(B)(2)(a) and 2317.022 to obtain the records without a warrant because the Third and Fifth Appellate Districts had already held that the statutes did not authorize a warrantless search of a hospital’s medical records containing the intoxicant test results of an OVI suspect. He bolsters his argument by noting that the OSHP was the same law enforcement agency involved in the cases from the Third and Fifth Appellate Districts.

[*P41] Eads, however, fails to take into account the uncertainty of the law concerning the Fourth Amendment and third-party records, including medical records. See Kerns, 663 F.3d 1173, 1184-1185. …

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