LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Kauai police are under investigation after a judge denied a warrant for a blood sample that officers obtained from a man involved in a fatal accident.
Police commissioners were set to discuss the case in executive session on Friday. A Kauai County spokeswoman says an internal review will be conducted, the Garden Island reported (https://bit.ly/1rrmtsa).
The Feb. 27 accident left Kekailani Pau, 23, dead. An unnamed 25-year-old driver lost control and hit another vehicle.
Officers obtained a blood sample from the driver despite the man’s inability to consent and the unsuccessful warrant request. It’s unclear why the judge denied the warrant.
State law allows officers to obtain a blood sample without court consent if an accident results in injury or death.
Prosecutors have been training officers since January in obtaining warrants over the phone for blood samples, citing concerns over a state law that makes it a misdemeanor to refuse a blood or breath test.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney said “court cases casted doubt on its ability to prosecute motorists who refused to submit to testing for breath or alcohol content” under the state law.
Officers were asked to properly document the circumstances surrounding any search conducted without a warrant.
Hawaii’s high court ruled in November that officers could not penalize those who refuse testing.
“There is a separate provision to State vs. Won, where if there is a car accident and the person was injured or someone was killed, then they can do a blood draw without the consent of the court,” said Honolulu attorney Myles Breiner, who is not involved in the case. “The difficulty is that if someone actually requested a blood draw and the state turned them down, that raises an interesting issue.”
The Kauai Police Department declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
Information from: The Garden Island, https://thegardenisland.com/
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