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Evidence sufficient to prove that blood analyst had valid permit for alcohol testing

State v. Michael J. Pierquet, 2009AP2099-Cr, 10/14/20, District 2, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

A jury convicted Pierquet of operating a motor vehicle with a Prohibited Alcohol Content. He argued that the circuit court erred in admitting the results of his blood test and in giving them prima facie effect because the State failed to prove that the analyst who performed the test possessed a valid permit for alcohol testing. The court of appeals disagreed because an employee of the State Lab of Hygiene testified that all of the analysts at the Lab hold a valid alcohol analysis issued by the state.

Section 343.305(6), Wis. Stats. requires a person to have a valid state permit in order to draw blood. During his trial, Pierquet did not object to the admission of his blood test results on the grounds his analyst lacked a permit.  He therefore forfeited the challenge. Opinion, ¶9.

The court of appeals nevertheless addressed the merits of Pierquet’s argument and rejected it. At trial, Kristin Drewieck, an employee of the State Lab of Hygiene, acknowledged that she did not analyze Pierquet’s blood sample. An analyst named Michelle Ehlers performed the test.  Driewieck testified that “all of the analysts” at the State Hygiene Lab hold “a valid alcohol analysis permit issued by the State.” Opinion, ¶3.

The court of appeals found Drewieck’s testimony sufficient to prove that Ehlers had the necessary permit:

This testimony indicates that Ehlers could not have been an analyst at the lab unless she held “a valid alcohol analysis permit issued by the State.” And there is no dispute that Ehlers was in fact an analyst at the lab at the time she analyzed Pierquet’s sample. Therefore, the court made no error in utilizing the prima facie jury instruction or in admitting the testimony as to the results of the analysis of Pierquet’s blood. Opinion, ¶12.



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