Appeals Court (January 12, 2006)

Refusal evidence is testimonial in nature and its admission violates the privilege against self-incrimination under the Declaration of Rights.

The defendant, Stephen Ranieri, was convicted of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol. At trial, the prosecutor introduced evidence that when asked to recite the alphabet on the side of the road the defendant's initial response was, "no." When questioned further by the officer as to why he could not do the test the defendant began reciting the alphabet. The appeals court reversed the conviction upholding the long standing proposition that refusal evidence is testimonial in nature and its admission violates a defendant's privilege against self-incrimination.