Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 146

Summary of Decision November 20, 2012

Justice Hill delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-12-0005

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Albany County, Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, Judge.

Representing Appellant: R. Michael Vang of Fleener & Vang, LLC, Laramie, WY.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; Robin Sessions Cooley, Deputy Attorney General; Douglas J. Moench, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Michael T. Kahler, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: November 20, 2012

Facts: After being arrested for driving while under the influence (DWUI) in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 31-5-233(b) (LexisNexis 2011), Todd L. Romsa submitted a request for contested case hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Romsa asked the OAH to rule that the procedure used by the arresting officer to conduct the chemical breath test upon which his arrest was based did not comply with Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 31-6-105(a) (LexisNexis 2011) and, therefore, the proposed suspension of his driver’s license must be vacated. The OAH hearing examiner issued an Order Upholding Per Se Suspension on June 9, 2011. Romsa petitioned the district court to review the order of the OAH and on November 11, 2011, that court affirmed the OAH’s order. Romsa appealed the order of the district court.

Issues: Romsa presents two issues for our consideration:

I. It is improper for OAH to apply a presumption that the underlying chemical test result is valid where the certified record establishes a failure to comply with Wyoming Statute § 31-6-105(a).

II. If OAH is allowed to apply the presumption that a chemical test is valid, then [Romsa] should be allowed under Rule 12.08 of the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure to provide evidence to rebut the arresting officer’s claims that he complied with Wyoming Statute § 31-6-105(a), where this evidence was not available to [Romsa] at the time of his implied consent administrative proceeding.

Holdings: The Court found that the certified record presented by the WYDOT at the administrative hearing established that the arresting officer performed the chemical analysis of Romsa’s breath “according to the methods approved by the department of health,” (specifically, Rules and Regulations for Chemical Analysis for Alcohol Testing, Ch. III, § 1(a)(i)), and as a result, it was proper for the OAH to apply a presumption that the underlying chemical test result was valid. § 31-6-105(a); Special Rules Relating to Driver’s Licenses, Ch. VI § 2(c).

Romsa did not present any evidence at the administrative hearing to rebut the presumption that the breath test results were accurate (Special Rules Relating to Driver’s Licenses, Ch. VI, § 2 (c)), and failed to meet the requirements of W.R.A.P. 12.08 that would allow this Court to “order the additional evidence to be taken before the agency.” Consequently, the Court affirmed the district court’s Order Affirming Per Se Suspension and affirmed the Order Upholding Per Se Suspension by the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

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