Police, nurses disagree over laws for blood draw consent

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Dallas police had to get a warrant to get blood from the man accused of being on drugs and causing a crash that killed a former councilwoman and her daughter earlier this week.

Police say they didn’t have to get a warrant because the man gave consent, but a nurse disagreed. Some in law enforcement say that's not a nurse's decision to make.

Police, local hospitals and the state nurses’ association all had different opinions about the right to draw blood. The blood draw could be crucial in the case against him.

Jonathan Moore was booked into the Dallas County Jail as soon as he was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Moore’s charges were upgraded to two counts of intoxication manslaughter after former Dallas City Council Member Carolyn Davis' daughter, Melissa Davis-Nunn, also died from the crash.

"Do you have a history of drug and alcohol abuse?" an officer asked Moore as he was being booked in.

"Yes," he replied.

Moore has five prior DWI convictions. He had been off probation five days and had just gotten alcohol detection devices taken out of his SUV when police say he drove the wrong way Monday night near Ledbetter and Lancaster and hit and fatally injured the two women.

Moore’s arrest affidavit states that he said "he had been taking Xanax," that he had "blood-shot eyes and was speaking at a rapid pace," and that he couldn't recite the alphabet properly.

Moore took a breath test that resulted in zero, indicating he had not been drinking. But after being arrested and once he was at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, police say he gave verbal consent for a blood test.

But the arrest affidavit states that a nurse told officers "they could not conduct a legal blood draw on [him] because [he] was intoxicated and therefore could not consent," adding, "[the officer] would have to have a search warrant or would have to wait until [he] was no longer intoxicated."

“That's not their job,” Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said. “Their job is to provide care for their health, not their legal status.”

The Dallas Police Association says that search warrant was not necessary, but officers did get a search warrant. About an hour after Moore's arrest and two hours after the crash, his blood was drawn.

“Giving a verbal consent, you can do it when you're intoxicated,” Mata added. “That verbal consent was videotaped on body camera.”

But the Texas Nurses Association said otherwise.

“In Texas, we do need a search warrant,” said Ellen Martin with the Texas Nurses Association.

But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled just last month that police can draw blood from an unconscious driver without the driver's permission and without a warrant if police believe the driver is under the influence.

Area hospitals seem to have their own policies.

Both Texas Health and Parkland seem to put the liability on law enforcement.

A statement from Texas Health reads: "If a person is in custody and has been arrested, law enforcement can request taking a blood draw without an individual's consent. It is law enforcement's responsibility to know that the person has been arrested for an offense that does not require...consent."

Parkland's policy states: "The...officer will cite reason for blood draw...This is the decision of the...officer and not the responsibility of the registered nurse."

But, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, where Moore's blood was eventually drawn after a warrant, would not provide its policy like other hospitals did, citing privacy laws.

It did send a statement, saying in part: "We were saddened to learn of the death of Councilwoman Carolyn Davis and her daughter, Melissa. Methodist...values the courage and bravery of our police...We make every effort to work in tandem."

A statement from Baylor simply stated that they comply with Texas law as it relates to taking blood from someone suspected of DWI.