YOUNGSTOWN Judge allows blood sample in rape trial

Lawyers argued over whether the blood sample was obtained illegally.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Blood drawn from a city man as part of a rape investigation can be used against him at trial, a judge ruled.
The defendant's lawyer had argued that the blood sample was illegally obtained and should be thrown out.
But Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court ruled Tuesday that Eddie Lamont Bandy knew what he was doing when he voluntarily allowed his blood to be drawn. That makes it legal and legitimate, the judge said.
Bandy, 36, of West Chalmers Avenue, was indicted by a county grand jury in October 2001 on one count of rape. Assistant Prosecutor Deena Calabrese said he raped a teenage girl at a park on the city's South Side in October 2000.
The girl was walking home from school when she was grabbed and raped, Calabrese said. The case is set for trial next month.
DNA testing
Semen that was found on the victim was submitted to a state crime lab for analysis. DNA taken from the fluid was submitted to a national data bank in which DNA information from violent offenders is stored.
Because Bandy had a prior conviction for violent crimes, his DNA was included in the data system, and his was the only one to match the DNA taken from the victim, Calabrese said.
Bandy's lawyer, John B. Juhasz, argued that that alone would have been reason enough for police to seek a court order for Bandy to submit to a blood test so a second DNA comparison could be done.
Instead, police confronted Bandy at his parole officer's office and asked his permission to take a blood sample, to which Bandy consented in writing.
Juhasz argued that police did not explain to Bandy that he was giving up his constitutional right to make them obtain a search warrant to get his blood sample.
He said that police have to make sure a person understands his right against self-incrimination before taking a statement and that this situation is similar.
Suspect's side
Bandy testified during the hearing before Judge Krichbaum that he did not understand what he'd agreed to, even though he read and signed a waiver form police gave him.
He also said the form was not presented until he was at a local hospital, where the sample was drawn.
But two police officers and Bandy's parole officer all testified that he signed the form in their presence at the Ohio Adult Parole Authority offices, before he was taken to the hospital.
Judge Krichbaum said that though obtaining a search warrant may be a more legally desirable method of obtaining the blood sample, there was nothing wrong with the way police did it in this case.
"They could have done it either way," Calabrese said. "They chose to seek his consent."
If he had refused their request, police could then have sought a search warrant and forced him to give a blood sample, Calabrese said.

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