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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lawyers for Mass. man accused of killing fiance in 2012 Nashua crash want blood tests excluded

NASHUA – Lawyers for a man charged with killing his fiance in a 2012 crash in Nashua want a judge to throw out evidence, arguing that police illegally took his blood.

James Bazinet’s public defenders, Stephen Rosecan and Michael Davidow, argued in a motion filed at Hillsborough County Superior Court that the state law that requires drivers involved in crashes that cause death or serious injury be tested for alcohol or drugs violates defendants’ state and federal constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure. ...

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NASHUA – Lawyers for a man charged with killing his fiance in a 2012 crash in Nashua want a judge to throw out evidence, arguing that police illegally took his blood.

James Bazinet’s public defenders, Stephen Rosecan and Michael Davidow, argued in a motion filed at Hillsborough County Superior Court that the state law that requires drivers involved in crashes that cause death or serious injury be tested for alcohol or drugs violates defendants’ state and federal constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

Bazinet, 49, of 98 Penn Ave., Apt. 1 in Worcester, Mass., was indicted on a charge of negligent homicide a year after he crashed his car into a tree on New Searles Road in Nashua on Dec. 1, 2012, killing his passenger and fiance, 55-year-old Sheryl Laitinen. Prosecutors allege Bazinet was intoxicated at the time, according to court records.

Bazinet’s lawyers said since he was seriously injured himself and was unconscious at the hospital when police told doctors to draw his blood to test it for alcohol concentration, he was unable to give his consent. That constitutes an illegal search, the lawyers argued, and the results of those tests should be barred as evidence, according to the motion.

Bazinet was critically wounded in the crash, which was discovered quickly by firefighters returning to a fire station after clearing another call nearby. He suffered two broken arms, a possible spinal fracture and severe head trauma, according to court documents.

“There is no evidence that the defendant was conscious and gave express consent to the medial testing,” Rosecan and Davidow wrote in their motion. “Without express consent, the defendant argues that the blood alcohol test results should be suppressed.”

Prosecutors from the Hillsborough County Attorneys Office have not responded to the motion, which was filed July 15.

Bazinet’s lawyers also argued that, even if the judge doesn’t rule the search illegal, he or she should still bar the evidence by ruling police committed a warrantless search when they obtained other blood samples that doctors took as part of routine testing, and sent them to the state crime lab. Finally, they argued that doctors and police violated Bazinet’s HIPPA rights by handing over the blood samples, according to court records.

Firefighters came across the scene on their way from another call to the Conant Road Station, according to officials.

Bazinet was treated at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, then transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was listed in critical condition. Laitinen was transported to St. Joseph Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Bazinet is facing up to 15 years in prison, according to court documents.

His trial was scheduled to begin this fall but lawyers have agreed to delay those proceedings to give accident reconstruction experts more time to study the evidence, according to court documents.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or by email at
jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter
(@Telegraph_JoeC).