The 8 th District Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's ruling to convict the defendant of aggravated vehicular homicide. This sends the case back to the lower court for retrial.
The defendant was arrested on January 4, 2013 for reckless driving that caused the death of another. Blood alcohol testing revealed that the man was driving at more than twice the legal limit - .154% BAC. The defendant was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide and DUI, but appealed on the grounds that his blood was obtained and handled improperly.
On the night of the crash, the defendant was transported to the hospital to receive medical attention. Cleveland detectives said that they read the man his rights while he was at the hospital and also consented to a blood draw.
The defendant's attorneys appealed on the basis of sloppy paperwork. For one, the blood draw paperwork stated that the year was 2012 when it was actually 2013. The blood test paperwork was also missing information regarding which specimen was to be tested. Although the defendant's attorneys attempted to get the blood test evidence thrown out, the court denied the motion and proceeded with convicting the man and sentencing him to five years and six months in prison. The attorneys appealed on the same grounds and succeeded, meaning the case will go back to the lower court for a retrial.
The justices for the 8 th District did agree that the blood test was handled improperly and should have been thrown out. However, they also conceded that a conviction was still valid in this situation. In order for an aggravated vehicular homicide conviction to stand, wrote Judge Melody J. Stewart in her partial dissenting opinion, you do not need to prove excessive alcohol. View State v. Dukes to read the court document.