Detective Sergeant William Billingham of the New Jersey loses appeal when the Superior Court Appellate Division overrules the trial court in holding that Billingham’s medical records are subject to subpoena in assault by auto case charges against him.
In this interesting case in which the State Police were again caught covering-up criminality of one of their own, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled in State v. Billingham that trooper Billingham’s blood test results are subject to a Dyal subpoena in the State’s prosecution and investigation of the trooper to determine whether Billingham was driving while intoxicated and be charged with assault by auto when he struck the rear end of another automobile at a red light.
In this case his fellow troopers whom arrived on the scene of the accident covered up Billingham’s intoxication. However, after further investigation by the Star-Ledger it was learned that the State Police covered-up Billingham’s real identity, falsely stating to the victim that his name was “Gillespie”, his assumed undercover name.
The Star-ledger also uncovered that Billingham’s fellow troopers not only covered-up his intoxication but provided the victim with false, fictional and incomplete insurance information regarding Billingham a/k/a Gillespie.
The appellate division held that Billingham’s blood test results performed at hospital when he went to hospital for treatment after his automobile accident are subject to subpoena notwithstanding the patient-physician privilege created by N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-22.2.
In State v. Dyal the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1984 held that such a subpoena, what is now known as a “Dyal Subpoena” is not subject to the patient-physician privilege if there is sufficient evidence of intoxication.
Before the police can obtain a Dyal subpoena for blood records at the hospital the police should apply to the municipal court judge for a subpoena duces tecum, upon a showing by the police that they have a reasonable basis to believe the defendant was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. These facts can be facts or evidence obtained at the scene or fact uncovered shortly thereafter.
In the Billingham case there were sufficient facts to warrant such a subpoena such as the fact that Billingham had attended a party in which alcohol was served, he claimed he fell asleep at the wheel, speeding, engaged in an accident which was clearly his fault, the first responders smelled alcohol in the ambulance while he was in their vehicle.
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
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Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey 07207
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Dated: January 11, 2013
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