from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable
Catherine R. Rogers, Judge.
Representing Appellant: R. Michael Vang, R. Michael Vang
P.C., Laramie, Wyoming.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General;
Misha Westby, Deputy Attorney General; Michael T. Kahler,
Senior Assistant Attorney General; Amy A. Pauli, Senior
Assistant Attorney General.
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
Appellant Ariel Casiano challenges the Office of
Administrative Hearings (OAH) decision to uphold the
suspension of his driver's license. In the companion
criminal case, the prosecution asserted that a gap in the
chain of custody of Mr. Casiano's blood samples rendered
blood alcohol content (BAC) test results inadmissible. The
municipal court dismissed the criminal charges without
prejudice and without reference to the chain of custody
issue. The question presented here is whether collateral
estoppel bars the OAH from considering Mr. Casiano's BAC
test results in the license suspension proceeding. We
conclude that collateral estoppel does not apply and affirm.
Mr. Casiano asserts one issue which we rephrase:
Does the prosecutor's assertion in the criminal driving
while under the influence (DWUI) case, that Mr. Casiano's
BAC test results were inadmissible, collaterally estop the
OAH from considering those same test results in the license
The facts in this case are undisputed. On September 29, 2016,
Cheyenne Police Officer Hall arrested Mr. Casiano for driving
while under the influence of alcohol. Officer Hall obtained a
search warrant for a blood draw pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann.
§ 31-6-102(d) (LexisNexis 2017). Shortly after midnight,
blood was drawn, but it was not delivered to the public
health testing lab until eighteen days later on October 17,
2016. Subsequent testing indicated Mr. Casiano's BAC was
Criminal charges were filed in municipal court for DWUI in
violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 31-5-233(b) (LexisNexis
2017). On January 4, 2017, the city prosecutor moved to
dismiss the criminal case. The prosecutor contended
"there is insufficient evidence to establish a proper
chain of custody for the time the blood samples were drawn on
September 30th, 2016, to the time the blood
samples were hand delivered to the Wyoming Department of
Health's Chemical Testing Program (WCTP), on October
17th, 2016." According to the prosecutor,
"[t]he [e]ighteen (18) day gap in the chain of custody
of the Defendant's blood draw is unacceptable and renders
the blood draw results inadmissible evidence . . . ."
The municipal court dismissed the DWUI charge without
prejudice and without reference to the chain of custody.
Following the municipal court's dismissal, the Wyoming
Department of Transportation (WYDOT or Department) held an
administrative license suspension proceeding mandated by Wyo.
Stat. Ann. § 31-6-102(f). WYDOT suspended Mr.
Casiano's driver's license for 90 days. Mr. Casiano
sought administrative review. Mr. Casiano relied on the
prosecutor's pleading in municipal court. He maintained
that collateral estoppel barred use of the BAC test results
in the WYDOT suspension proceeding and that those results
were inadmissible because the break in the chain of custody
violated the Department of Health's testing standards.
The OAH upheld the suspension, reasoning that there "is
no privity between the Cheyenne Municipal prosecutor and the
Department" and that "no evidence was provided to
establish the 18-day gap [in delivery of the blood sample to
the Department of Health] resulted in a chain of custody
issue." Mr. Casiano appealed the ruling to the district
court. The district court affirmed the suspension. Mr.
Casiano timely appeals.
"When we consider an appeal from a district court's
review of an administrative agency's decision, we are not
bound by the conclusions of the district court."
Lietz v. State ex rel. Dept. of Family Services,2018 WY 127, ¶ 10, 430 P.3d 310, 313 (Wyo. 2018) (citing
Reynolds v. West Park Hospital District, 2010 WY 69,
¶ 6, 231 P.3d 1275, 1277 (Wyo. 2010); Guier v. Teton
Cty. Hosp. Dist.,2011 WY 31, ¶¶ 12-13, 248
P.3d 623, 629-30 (Wyo. 2011)). We consider appeals from a
district court's review of an administrative action as if
the case had come directly from the administrative agency.
Guier, ¶ 12, 248 P.3d at 629; Bo ...