Good morning from #Gallatin Co. District Court. Today is a motions hearing for Michael Soule, #Belgrade Liquor owner charged w/ killing wife in alcohol-related crash in 2012.
Soule's hearing is scheduled before Judge Mike Salvagni for 2 full days. Today's hearing is slated to start at 9 a.m.
Judge Salvagni has taken his seat on the bench. The hearing is now underway.
Gallatin Co. Chief Deputy Attorney Eric Kitzmiller is representing the state in today's hearing.
Defense attorneys Al Avignone and Lisa Banick are representing Soule in this case.
Avignone calls his first witness: John Michael Long, the laboratory operations manager at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.
Avingone said Long is a witness to support his motion to preclude hospital blood test results b/c state failed to obtain/preserve hospital blood sample and the blood test results are unreliable and not competent evidence.
Long: Hospital lab result said that Soule's BAC was 0.231 the night of the crash.
Long: Not able to identify the person who collected Soule's blood sample the night of the crash.
Avignone: Does the hospital have any records that ID method used to get Soule’s blood work? Type of container? How blood handled? Where on Soule’s body was taken from? How the blood was stored? Long: No (to all the questions.)
Long: Soule's blood sample was not taken in the hospital lab. Could have been collected somewhere else in the hospital or prior to his arrival at the hospital.
Avignone: Does the hospital know whether blood tested/reported as Soule’s blood was in fact Soule’s blood? Long: We have electronic record trail of a sample that was labeled as Soule’s blood…But not in an absolute manner.
Long: Hospital did not test Soule's blood for marijuana, cocaine. But did test Soule's urine for marijuana, cocaine
Avignone finished questioning Long. Kitzmiller up at the podium to cross examine the witness.
Long: Bozeman Deaconess Hospital performs approximately 17,000 blood tests a week.
Kitzmiller asking Long specifics about how blood is tested at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, how often instruments are tested themselves.
Long: Error code would be produced if there was something wrong w/ blood sample. No error code from Soule's blood test that said his BAC was 0.231.
Long: That specimen was tested at about 2:30 a.m. Result came shortly before 3 a.m.
Kitzmiller: Is there anything from records that would cause you to question reliability of Soule's 0.231 BAC result? Long: No.
Kitzmiller: Is it unusual for blood sample to be received at lab not indicating who took the sample? Long: Yes. Kitzmiller: In 2012? Long: Not as unusual as it is now.
Long: From the laboratory’s point of view, confident the label on the blood specimen we received said Michael Soule.
Kitzmiller finishes his questioning of Long. Avignone back up for re-direct questioning.
After a couple of short questions, Avignone ends his questions of Long. Kitzmiller back up.
Long is done on the witness stand. Avignone now calls Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Glen Barcus.
Barcus was one of the troopers who investigated Soule's crash in 2012.
Barcus: Dispatched to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital to investigate the suspected driver of the crash that killed one person.
Barcus: Soule was in the ER at the time. Found him because trauma room was wide open. "There was no searching him out."
Avignone: Nobody in the ER ever said, “What are you doing here?” Barcus: No sir.
Avignone showing Barcus a Montana Highway Patrol incident report prepared by Sgt. Patrick McCarthy.
Avignone: Remember seeing an injury of Soule’s left shoulder? Barcus: No, sir. Avignone: Remember photos being taken of Soule’s left shoulder? Barcus: No, sir.
Barcus: Was at ER to obtain a blood draw of suspected driver and possibly perform an interview if that was available, there hour and a half.
Barcus: Due to Soule's injuries, couldn't have access to him for blood sample or to interview him.
Barcus: Soule was conscious when Barcus first got to ER. "I could hear him yelling and speaking to medical staff."
Avignone: Did you have permission to be in ER from Soule, ER staff or Soule's family? Barcus: No, sir.
Barcus said he did not have a search warrant.
While Soule was in trauma room, Barcus said he read Soule the Implied Consent Advisory.
Barcus: Soule was unconscious when Barcus read him the advisory.
Salvagni calls for a break. Barcus will continue his testimony after a 10-minute recess.
Salvagni is back from break. Avignone is continuing to question Trooper Glen Barcus.
Avignone is going over with Barcus the steps the trooper took in getting Soule's blood draw from phlebotomist & sending it to the crime lab.
Barcus: State crime lab's results said Soule's blood showed his blood alcohol content was 0.07, had 1 ng/ml of THC and no cocaine.
Kitzmiller questioning Barcus on the events of the night of crash, Jan. 25, 2012.
Barcus: Went to the crash scene after leaving the hospital to assist in forensic mapping of the scene. Was there several hours.
Barcus: Probably 20 people or more were assisting with the care of Soule while in the ER.