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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, re what constitutes refusal to take a chemical test

In Kristy Burnell v. State of Indiana, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:

The driving privileges of a motorist were administratively suspended on grounds the motorist refused to take a chemical test. Upon judicial review the trial court declined to set aside the suspension. We affirm the trial court’s judgment. * * *

Burnell appealed and in a divided opinion, with each judge writing separately, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. * * *

The record here shows Burnell clearly heard and understood the officer’s offer of the opportunity to take a chemical test. She thus was capable of refusal. And although first declaring “yeah, I guess I gotta can take it,” Burnell nonetheless stepped away from the officer twice, 8 justifying a reasonable person in the officer’s position to believe that Burnell manifested an unwillingness to submit to the test. We are not unmindful the evidence in this case presents conflicting inferences. But in appealing from a negative judgment Burnell has the burden of demonstrating the evidence leads to but one conclusion and the trial court reached an opposite conclusion. She has failed to carry this burden.

Conclusion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 23, 2016 12:31 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions