from the Order October 10, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas
of Cambria County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: OLSON, J., DUBOW, J., and STEVENS, P.J.E.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appeals from the October 10,
2016 order granting Appellee Mickey H. Updike's
suppression motion. In this case, we hold that blood draw
evidence collected prior to June 23, 2016 is admissible under
the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule when a
defendant only seeks suppression under the federal
constitution. As Appellee did not seek suppression under the
state constitution in this case, we reverse.
factual background and procedural history of this case are as
follows. On May 5, 2016, Detective Mark Britton sought to
question an individual sitting in the rear passenger seat of
Appellee's vehicle. When Detective Britton approached, he
noticed an open beer can in the vehicle and asked Appellee if
he had been drinking or using drugs. Appellee responded that
he was not drinking but he had used heroin earlier in the
day. Appellee was transported to a local hospital and
informed, by reading of the DL-26 form, that, if he did not
consent to a blood draw, he would face increased criminal
penalties. Appellee then agreed to the blood draw, which
showed the presence of a controlled substance and metabolites
in his blood stream.
August 4, 2016, the Commonwealth charged Appellee via
criminal information with four counts of driving under the
substance. On September 6, 2016, Appellee moved to
suppress the blood draw evidence. He argued that the evidence
was collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the
United States Constitution. Thereafter, the trial court held
a suppression hearing which encompassed this case and six
other cases which raised similar legal issues. On October 10,
2016, the trial court granted the suppression motion. The
Commonwealth filed this timely interlocutory appeal as of
right. See Pa.R.A.P. 311(d).
Commonwealth presents three issues for our review:
1. Whether the [trial court] erred by ruling that the
holdings of the Supreme Court of the United States in
Davis v. United States, [564 U.S. 229 (2011)] and
Illinois v. Krull, [480 U.S. 340
(1987) were inapplicable under Article [I, ]
Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution when [Appellee]
had only made a claim under the Fourth Amendment of the
Federal Constitution and had implicitly waived all claims
under Article [I, ] Section 8[?]
2. Whether the [trial] court erred by suppressing evidence
that was seized based upon the officer's good faith
reliance on appellate precedent[?]
3. Whether [Appellee's] inculpatory statements regarding
his heroin use render any potential coercion inert as
[Appellee] was ready and willing to admit to his heroin
Commonwealth's Brief at 6.
three of the Commonwealth's claims challenge the trial
court's order suppressing the results of the blood draw.
"Once a motion to suppress evidence has been filed, it
is the Commonwealth's burden to prove, by a preponderance
of the evidence, that the challenged evidence was not
obtained in violation of the defendant's rights."
Commonwealth v. Evans, 153 A.3d 323, 327 (Pa. Super.
2016) (citation omitted). Our standard of review in
addressing a challenge to a trial court's order granting
a suppression motion is whether the factual findings are
supported by the record and whether the legal conclusions
drawn from those facts are correct. See Commonwealth v.
Champney, 161 A.3d 265, 271 (Pa. Super. 2017) (en
banc) (citation omitted). "[O]ur scope of review is
limited to the factual findings and legal conclusions of the
[trial] court." In re L.J., 79 A.3d 1073, 1080
(Pa. 2013) (citation omitted). "When the Commonwealth
appeals from a suppression order, we . . . consider only the
evidence from the defendant's witnesses together with the
evidence of the prosecution that, when read in the context of
the entire record, remains uncontradicted."
Commonwealth v. Young, 162 A.3d 524, 527 (Pa. Super.
2017) (citation omitted). "Where the [trial] court's
factual findings are supported by the record, we are bound by
these findings and may reverse only if the [trial]
court's legal conclusions are erroneous."
Commonwealth v. Palmer, 145 A.3d 170, 173 (Pa.
Super. 2016) (citation omitted).
order to understand the issues presented in this case, it is
necessary to review the change in the law which prompted
Appellee to file his suppression motion. When Appellee was
arrested and gave consent to the blood draw, the warnings
regarding increased criminal penalties for refusing a blood
draw (included in form DL-26) were legally correct. While
Appellee's case was pending, however, the Supreme Court
of the United States decided Birchfield v. North
Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016). In Birchfield,
the Supreme Court of the United States considered whether a
blood draw was subject to one of the limited exceptions to
the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement.
Birchfield, the Supreme Court of the United States
held that police can compel a driver to give a breath sample
without a warrant; however, police cannot compel a driver to
provide a blood sample without first obtaining a search
warrant except in certain limited circumstances."
Commonwealth v. Giron, 155 A.3d 635, 637 n.1 (Pa.
Super. 2017) (citation omitted). Although
Birchfield, Evans, and Giron were
DUI- alcohol cases, their reasoning is equally applicable in
DUI-controlled substance cases. Commonwealth v.
Ennels, 2017 WL 2954227, *3-5 (Pa. Super. July 11,
2017). Therefore, in the wake of Birchfield, the
DL-26 warnings ...