A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

Supreme Court PA

By Burt Rose

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The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ruled in the case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Daniel Roger SMITH, 2013 WL 5354358, 88 MAP 2011 (Sept. 25, 2013) that the Superior Court erred in determining that police officers, when seeking consent from an individual for the testing of his blood for the presence of drugs or alcohol following a traffic accident, must inform the individual that the results of the test may be used for criminal or prosecutorial purpose, and that consent to a blood test is invalid as unknowing where the defendant could show he had no notice or awareness of the criminal investigative purpose of the test.

Justice Baer wrote that “To the extent the Superior Court held that an officer must inform an individual that a positive result in a blood test may have criminal repercussions, and such failure renders any consent to the blood test invalid, the court erred. We further hold that the totality of the circumstances presented instantly support the trial court’s conclusion that the suppression of blood test results was not warranted. Accordingly, we reverse the order of the Superior Court, and we remand this case to that court for consideration of issues that remain in abeyance.”


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