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State v. Gackle

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 1, 2015

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Robert Paul Gackle, Defendant and Appellant

As Amended December 2, 2015.

Appeal from the District Court of McLean County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Bruce A. Romanick, Judge.

Ladd R. Erickson (on brief), Washburn, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

Michael R. Hoffman (on brief), Bismarck, ND, for defendant and appellant.

Carol Ronning Kapsner, Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

Ronning Kapsner, Justice.

[¶1] A jury found Robert Gackle guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. He appeals from the criminal judgment. We affirm.

I

[¶2] A McLean County Sheriff's Deputy pulled Gackle over after the deputy observed Gackle speeding. The deputy noticed Gackle appeared intoxicated and asked Gackle for permission to search his vehicle; Gackle consented. During the search, the deputy found a crushed beer can. The deputy then requested Gackle submit to field sobriety tests; Gackle complied. After Gackle performed the tests, the deputy placed him under arrest and drove him to the Turtle Lake Hospital. At the hospital, the deputy read Gackle the implied consent advisory and requested he submit to a blood draw. Gackle consented, a nurse drew his blood, and the deputy delivered the blood sample to the North Dakota State Crime Laboratory. A forensic scientist at the crime laboratory performed a chemical test on Gackle's blood sample, and the test result was .21% alcohol by volume.

[¶3] The State charged Gackle with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Gackle moved to suppress the test results, and the district court denied his motion. The State then made a motion in limine. In the motion, the State notified the court:

The state plans to offer the test through the chemist that conducted the test after the Court hears the foundation for the blood draw from the arresting officer and nurse. The state does not plan to go through the purely academic exercise of placing the documents related to blood testing found on the Attorney General's website into evidence. . . .
The state is attaching the documents in question to this motion. If they are needed in order for the Court to allow the jury to review the test results, the state will go through the exercise of admitting them at trial. However, the state does not intend to do so unless otherwise directed by the Court because the state believes the law does not require the jury have the exhibits before it.

During the hearing on the motion in limine, the court preliminarily indicated:

THE COURT: Well, all right. I will give you how I tend to rule, and I'll listen to any objections tomorrow. I've ruled in the past that if the lab technician and nurse and officer testify, that it is simply an evidentiary issue, and if somebody claims that this technician is not on the list or didn't use the approved method, which I assume the person will testify they do, then you can make your objection that we don't have the document into ...

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