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Glascock v. State (2/24/95), 890 P 2d 65
Notice: This opinion is subject to correction before
publication in the Pacific Reporter. Readers are
requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk
of the Appellate Courts, 303 K Street, Anchorage,
Alaska 99501, telephone (907)264-0607, fax (907)276-
THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA
EDWARD T. GLASCOCK, )
) Supreme Court No. S-5873
) Superior Court No.
v. ) 3AN-92-11703 Civil
STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT ) O P I N I O N
OF PUBLIC SAFETY, DIVISION )
OF MOTOR VEHICLES, ) [No. 4171 - February 24, 1995]
Appeal from the Superior Court of the
State of Alaska, Third Judicial District,
Karl S. Johnstone,
Appearances: Paul E. Olson, Anchorage,
for Appellant. Dianne Olsen and Jeff Killip,
Assistant Attorneys General, Anchorage, and
Bruce M. Botelho, Attorney General, Juneau,
Before: Moore, Chief Justice,
Rabinowitz, Matthews, Compton and Eastaugh,
The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
administratively revoked Edward Glascock's Alaska driver's
license because he was arrested for driving while intoxicated
(DWI) and for failing a breath test. DMV used Glascock's
authenticated Arizona driving records reflecting an Arizona DWI
conviction to enhance the period of his administrative license
revocation. Glascock appeals that use, contending that the
statutory scheme requires an authenticated court order showing a
prior DWI conviction to enhance the length of his license
revocation. He also argues that DMV's use of the Arizona driving
records denied him due process. We hold that DMV did not err in
using the authenticated Arizona driving records and did not deny
Glascock due process.
II. STATEMENT OF FACTS
Glascock was arrested in Alaska in April 1992 for
driving while intoxicated. As provided for by AS 28.15.165, the
arresting trooper revoked Glascock's license because Glascock's
breath test disclosed a blood alcohol concentration of .197
percent. Glascock requested an administrative hearing before
DMV. He claimed that the arresting officer did not have
reasonable grounds to believe that Glascock was operating a
vehicle while intoxicated and did not properly administer the
breath test. Glascock's counsel later waived the scheduled
hearing, apparently assuming the license would be revoked for one
year, a period agreeable to Glascock.
DMV, however, revoked Glascock's license for five
years, from May 15, 1992, through May 14, 1997. The hearing
officer found that Glascock had two previous DWI convictions, one
in Alaska on February 6, 1992, and one in Arizona on September
23, 1985; the latter conviction was demonstrated by an
authenticated computer printout of the Arizona Department of
Transportation's records regarding Glascock. The Arizona court
which had sentenced Glascock had purged its 1985 Arizona court
Glascock appealed the revocation to the superior court,
which dismissed the appeal by stipulation and remanded to DMV for
a hearing on the appropriate length of license revocation.
At the remand hearing, Glascock argued that DMV could
not use his Arizona conviction to enhance the length of his
license revocation because (1) no certified copy of the Arizona
court judgment existed and (2) the State had previously found
that he had only one prior conviction.1 DMV affirmed the five-
year revocation based upon the fact that Glascock had two
previous DWI convictions, holding that the computer printout of
the Arizona Department of Transportation's records was sufficient
proof of a prior conviction to support a five year administrative
Glascock again appealed to the superior court. Judge
Karl Johnstone held that the use of an authenticated copy of the
Arizona Department of Transportation record was permissible and
that collateral estoppel did not bar DMV from holding that
Glascock had more than one prior conviction.
Glascock now appeals the superior court's holding that
the authenticated computer printout of the Arizona Department of
Transportation's records may be used to enhance the length of
Glascock's license revocation.
Glascock argues that DMV must use an authenticated copy
of court records to enhance the period of driver's license
revocation for DWI. This argument fails.2
As Judge Karl Johnstone cogently reasoned, Sather v.
State, Division of Motor Vehicles, 776 P.2d 1055 (Alaska 1989),
controls the outcome of this case. Sather was convicted of DWI
in Alaska. DMV increased Sather's license revocation period from
ninety days to one year because he had previously been convicted
of DWI in California. Id. at 1057. Proof of the California
conviction came from a certified printout of the California
record3 which contained Sather's name, birthdate, and a physical
description. Id. Sather argued that DMV has the burden to offer
more conclusive proof of the previous conviction. Id. at 1056.
We rejected this argument, holding that the evidence was
admissible because the hearing officer could reasonably rely on
the accuracy of the certified record. Id. at 1057.
The facts of the instant case are similar. DMV
received a certified copy of Glascock's Arizona record which
contained his name, date of birth, and physical description,
along with a statement of a 1985 DWI conviction in which Glascock
pled guilty to the charge. Glascock's Alaska driver's license
reflects virtually identical personal information.
As it did in Sather, here DMV relied on the accuracy of
the certified record, and therefore, properly determined that
Glascock had two previous DWI convictions. Such reliance was
reasonable, especially considering that the Arizona court had
purged the actual records from 1985. See Sather, 776 P.2d at
1057 ("Under the rules of evidence relative to administrative
hearings, evidence is admissible if it is the sort that
responsible persons would rely on.").
Glascock claims that Stewart v. State, 763 P.2d 515
(Alaska App. 1988), is dispositive. In Stewart, the court of
appeals required that prior DWI convictions must be proven by
authenticated copies of court records when used to enhance a
mandatory minimum sentence for DWI. Id. at 518. The court
applied the statutory requirement contained in AS 12.55.145(b).
That statute mandates that the prosecution, in a criminal action,
has the burden of proving prior convictions. Id.
Glascock's reliance on Stewart, however, is misplaced.
Stewart involved AS 12.55.145(b), a criminal sentencing statute,
whereas the instant case involves AS 28.15.181(c), a civil
administrative license revocation statute. The statute in
Stewart clearly contemplates that the prosecution bears the
burden of proving prior convictions. 763 P.2d at 518.
Additionally, AS 12.55.145(b) expressly requires "authenticated
copies of court records" for criminal sentence enhancement
whereas AS 28.15.181(c) is silent as to the method of proving
past DWI convictions for administrative license revocations.
Moreover, the Alaska Evidence Rules were applicable in Stewart,
but expressly do not apply in administrative license revocation
proceedings. See AS 28.05.141(a) ("Hearings must be informal,
and technical rules of evidence do not apply."). As we noted in
Sather, the admissibility of evidence relative to administrative
hearings requires a reasonableness standard. 763 P.2d at 1057.
Consequently, Glascock's reliance on the standard set forth in
Stewart for the criminal sentencing of a DWI defendant is
Glascock argues that DMV oversimplifies our holding in
Sather, contending that the instant case is factually
distinguishable. Glascock asserts that Sather never argued that
the California conviction was incorrect or that he was not the
"Sather"identified in the California conviction, therefore, the
California printout was admissible because reasonable persons
would rely on it for purposes of identity. In comparison,
Glascock claims that he, "by not expressly admitting the prior
conviction, challenged the accuracy of the information."
The record contains no assertion by Glascock that the
Arizona conviction was substantively flawed. The record shows
that Glascock pled guilty to the Arizona DWI charge. Glascock
never argued that the guilty plea is incorrect. Nor did he deny
that he is the "Glascock"referred to in the Arizona record.
Glascock's objection is not substantive, but only technical,4 and
thus is without merit.5
We conclude that Sather controls this case. Therefore,
DMV correctly considered Glascock's Arizona DWI conviction in
enhancing the length of his administrative driver's license
revocation. We AFFIRM the decision of the DMV hearing officer.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA
EDWARD T. GLASCOCK, )
) Supreme Court No. S-5873
) O R D E R
STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT )
OF PUBLIC SAFETY, DIVISION )
OF MOTOR VEHICLES, )
Superior Court No. 3AN-92-11703 Civil
Before: Moore, Chief Justice, Rabinowitz,
Matthews, Compton and Eastaugh, Justices.
IT IS ORDERED:
1. Memorandum Opinion and Judgment No. 0755, issued on
January 25, 1995, is WITHDRAWN.
2. Opinion No. 4171 is issued on this date in its place.
Entered by direction of the Court at Anchorage, Alaska
on February 24, 1995.
CLERK OF THE SUPREME COURT
1 Glascock argued that on December 30, 1991, when DMV
revoked his license because of his first Alaska DWI conviction,
DMV found that Glascock had no prior DWI convictions.
2 We review the hearing officer's decision to enhance the
length of Glascock's driver's license revocation independent of
the superior court's decision, as the superior court was acting
as an intermediate court of appeal. Haynes v. State, Dep't of
Public Safety, 865 P.2d 753, 754 (Alaska 1993). We use the
substitution of judgment standard when reviewing an agency's
resolution of questions of law not involving agency expertise.
State, Dep't of Public Safety, Div. of Motor Vehicles v. Fann,
864 P.2d 533, 536 (Alaska 1993).
3 The Sather opinion does not specify whether the
California printout was from the California court or DMV.
4 In Sather, we discussed the situation when a defendant
does not deny the information in DMV records.
[W]here a defendant does not deny the
authenticity or nature of a prior conviction
but objects on technical grounds alone, a
docket abstract is sufficient, prima facie
evidence of the prior conviction. Under
those circumstances, the state was under no
duty to offer more conclusive proof of the
conviction absent a substantive challenge to
the validity of the conviction.
Sather, 776 P.2d at 1057 (discussing Gant v. State, 712 P.2d 906,
908 (Alaska App. 1986). We concluded that because Sather did not
challenge the accuracy of the information or demonstrate that the
out-of-state conviction was "constitutionally infirm," his
objection was technical. Id. Thus the hearing officer correctly
considered the conviction.
5 We also hold that Glascock's due process argument is
without merit. Glascock does not offer any support for his
assertion that an enhanced administrative license revocation
violates due process guarantees. Rather, he argues that using a
certified driver's record to enhance the revocation denies him
due process. As discussed above, the administrative officer
properly relied upon Glascock's driving record to support
enhancement of his driver's license revocation.