Blood Test Ruled Admissible in Reno Trial

Mike Scofield
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A judge has ruled that a blood test of a woman who admitted smoking marijuana before she was involved in a fatal accident with a motorcycle police officer may be admitted at the woman's trial.

Anna Marie Jackson testified Wednesday that she had smoked pot the day before she drove into the officer's path, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

But Jackson and her lawyers contended that she had been detained illegally after the accident, so the blood test showing she had marijuana in her system could not be used as evidence.

Washoe District Judge Janet Berry disagreed after a daylong hearing, but did agree to postpone Jackson's trial beyond the scheduled June 23 date. A new date was not been set.

Jackson, 25, who is free on $20,000 bond, faces up to 20 years in prison on a felony count of driving while having an illegal amount of a prohibited substance in her blood.

The accident caused the death of Officer Mike Scofield, a 25-year police veteran.

Scofield, 55, was speeding toward an accident scene on Sept. 26 when Jackson pulled out of a business park and into his path. Scofield slammed into the driver's side and died instantly.

After giving written and verbal statements to several officers, Jackson agreed to a blood test which found her blood contained 3 nanograms of marijuana's active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and 18 nanograms of a marijuana metabolite.

Nevada law prohibits drivers from having more than 2 nanograms of THC or more than 5 nanograms of the metabolite in their system.

Jackson's lawyers argued that as police moved Jackson from vehicles to patrol cars, she was being detained.

But Deputy District Attorney Bruce Hahn presented a list of witnesses to show that officers had not detained her.

The case is similar to one in Las Vegas, where prosecutors have asked the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn a judge's order granting Jessica Williams a new trial in a freeway crash that killed six teenagers.

Clark County District Judge Michael Douglas has ruled that Williams should get a new trial because the state law under which a jury found her guilty did not list the marijuana metabolite found in her blood as a prohibited substance.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)