More Graham Arrest Questions

1 decade 11 months 3 weeks ago Friday, October 26 2007 Oct 26, 2007 Friday, October 26, 2007 1:39:58 PM CDT October 26, 2007 in News

The police report details a confrontation at University Hospital during which hospital workers attempted to stop a Columbia Police officer from seizing Graham's urine as evidence.  Officer Donald Weaver says he had the constitutional right to seize the urine as evidence.

"I had probable cause to believe the urine... constituted evidence of the crime of driving while intoxicated," said Weaver in his report. "And I had probable cause to believe that the evidence was going to be destroyed... if i did not immediately seize it and preserve it."

An MU law professor says the Plain View doctrine of the Fourth Amendment "allows seizure of an item which an officer comes across lawfully and is immediately apparent as an item that can be seized.

The main federal law regarding health privacy is known as HIPAA, but an expert on the law, Abner Wientraub says it probably does not apply here.

"HIPAA does not provide any basis for medical employees, medical staff, impeding legitimate police activities: investigations, serving warrants, that sort of thing," said Wientraub.

"That narrative is only one small part of all the reports that will be filed," said Graham's attorney.  "It is the arresting officer's version of what happened. There are a number of inaccuracies and exaggerations in that report."

The hospital is still citing the two-sentence release it sent yesterday claiming that hospital staff followed appropriate procedures and that it protects patient privacy.

On Friday University Hospital provided KOMU with a copy of their policy on "druq/alcohol specimen from patients" which reads "when law enforcement agency makes a request for patient blood/acohol/urine drug screen specimens, the paitent must be under arrest and give that verbal consent for the specimen to be obtained. Following paitent consent, the physiscian must order the collection of the specimen. The law enforcement agency must provide the specimen container and it must be returned to the agency. The specimen is given to the patient for testing at an independent lab of his/her choosing. The patient must absorb the cost of the independent lab testing. The department manager/house managers should be notified when an officer requests a specimen from an inpatient."

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