QUEENSBURY — Defense lawyers for the man who faces homicide charges for last summer’s fatal boat crash on Lake George have asked a judge to suppress the blood test that provided evidence for the charges against him and dismiss the charges, alleging procedural deficiencies that violated his constitutional rights.
Lawyers for Alexander M. West, of Lake George, also claimed that there was insufficient evidence of West’s alleged “drug impairment” to support the vehicular manslaughter, vehicular assault and boating while ability impaired charges against him, and they also alleged that the grand jury presentation that resulted in his indictment was “defective.” For those reasons and others, the charges should be dismissed, the defense claims.
West, 24, faces a 12-count indictment that includes charges of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, boating while ability impaired and leaving the scene of an accident for the July 25 boat crash on Lake George that killed 8-year-old Charlotte McCue. He has pleaded not guilty.
West’s lawyers filed the pre-trial motion earlier this week.
Much of the motion involves requests for pre-trial hearings, judicial review of grand jury minutes and claims of insufficient evidence.
But lawyer Kathryn Conklin wrote that an inconsistency with the search warrant that Warren County sheriff’s officers received to take a blood sample from West for drug and alcohol testing should result in the warrant and evidence generated from it being suppressed.
West’s blood sample was taken July 26, but the search warrant was dated July 27, she wrote. A copy of the warrant dated July 27 was filed in court along with the motion.
“By the time the chemical analysis and application were executed, Mr. West’s 4th Amendment rights had been violated,” Conklin wrote.
Conklin wrote there was also insufficient evidence of “recklessness” on West’s part to support the manslaughter count.
Any statements made to police should be suppressed because they were involuntarily made, Conklin wrote.
Suppression of the evidence would bar prosecutors from using it at trial.
Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said Friday that she had no comment on the motion.
Her office is scheduled to respond to the motions next month, with Warren County Judge John Hall to rule afterward and schedule pre-trial hearings.
No trial date has been set.
West is accused of hitting a boat that Charlotte was on, then fleeing the scene. Police later determined he had been drinking and using drugs in the hours before the crash at the annual Log Bay Day party on the lake, court records allege.
He gave a blood sample more than 12 hours after the crash, when he turned himself in to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office amid a massive manhunt for him.
West is free on bail, and faces up to 22 years in state prison if convicted of the weightiest charges.