Now a well known incident, the controversial arrest of Nurse Wubbels in Salt Lake City on August 31, 2017, sparked national outrage after she refused to allow Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne to draw blood from an unconscious patient involved in a vehicle accident.
Wubbels pointed out that the victim was not under arrest and that the officer did not have a warrant. The officer, insisting he had proper authority, handcuffed the nurse and placed her in his police car; she was later released and charges were not filed against her.
As news quickly spread around the country, Libertas Institute reached out to Representative Craig Hall and we immediately began working together to find a solution to this disturbing incident.
A bill was quickly drafted and taken before the Judiciary Interim Committee where it was unanimously recommended for consideration by the full legislature.
That bill became House Bill 43, which clarifies and consolidates the law dealing with when blood may be taken from a person.
The bill states that an individual may be required to submit to a blood test for a law enforcement purpose only if:
- the individual or legal representative of the individual with authority to give consent gives oral or written consent to the blood test;
- the peace officer obtains a warrant to administer the blood test;
- a judicially recognized exception to obtaining a warrant exists as established by the Utah Court of Appeals, Utah Supreme Court, Court of Appeals of the Tenth Circuit, or the Supreme Court of the United States
The bill enjoyed broad based support and was voted out of the Utah House and Senate unanimously within a couple weeks of the beginning of the 2018 legislative session.
Property rights are especially important when talking about one’s own body, and ensuring the law correctly and narrowly protects an unnecessary taking of one’s blood is extremely important.