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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Sep 28, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Steven R. Finney, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Micah Alexander Cates.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Beldsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Tony Clark, District Attorney General; and Janet Hardin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Micah Cates, was convicted by a Carter County jury of vehicular homicide by intoxication. Prior to trial, the Defendant moved the trial court to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless blood draw. The trial court denied the motion and the case proceeded to trial where the State introduced evidence of the Defendant’s blood alcohol content. Following the Defendant’s conviction, the trial court imposed the minimum sentence of eight years with a release eligibility of 30 percent. The trial court denied alternative sentencing and ordered that the Defendant serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained from his warrantless blood draw, and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing the Defendant. Upon our review, we conclude that no exception to the warrant requirement justified the warrantless blood draw in this case. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s denial of the Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from the blood draw and vacate his conviction.