Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Court asked to consider drunken driving evidence

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Prosecutors say evidence from tests of drunken drivers should be used in trials even if police didn't follow all the rules while giving the tests.

Defense attorneys say the Ohio Supreme Court has already said such evidence can't be admitted in court.

Both sides have asked the justices to resolve conflicting rulings in other courts. A ruling is expected by year's end.

"We don't know what it means if it's done improperly, so what's a jury going to do with these tests?" said James Tesno, a Celina attorney who successfully argued to have test results thrown out in his client's drunken driving case.

At issue is an earlier Supreme Court ruling on police use of evidence in sobriety tests when deciding whether to arrest suspected drunken drivers.

In August 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that police who don't properly conduct sobriety tests can't use them as evidence. The court's 4-3 decision - known as State v. Homan - upheld a lower court ruling that overturned an Erie County woman's 1996 conviction on drunken driving.

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