To meet the requirements of the inevitable discovery doctrine, it is incumbent on the state to prove, not only that it would have asked defendant the same questions, but also that he would have given the same answers.
Defendant, a tanker captain, was convicted of negligent discharge of oil, a violation of Alaska Stat. § 46.03.740, after the tanker ran aground and spilled oil into the sound. Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence, which was denied. The court originally reversed the conviction on appeal, but the Alaska Supreme Court reversed and remanded the action to determine to what extent the inevitable discovery doctrine precluded the admission of evidence.
Are the trial court's inevitable discovery findings admissible?
The court held that apart from defendant's statements and the evidence of intoxication derived from the taking of his blood and urine samples, the superior court was correct in finding the remaining prosecution evidence to be admissible under the inevitable discovery doctrine. The statements and the blood tests would not have been inevitably discovered in substantially the same form except for the fact that defendant reported the accident, and were thus subject to immunity.