Archive for December 2nd, 2008

Ohio Rejects Popular Breathalyzer: Accuracy Challenged

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

As readers here know, I’ve posted extensively in recent months about the need to know the secret software controlling various breath-testing machines – and the growing number of courts across the country that are ordering the manufacturers to divulge this critical information.  See, for example, Judge Orders Secrets of Breath Machine RevealedJudge: Divulge Breathalyzer Code…or Else, and Second Manufacturer Must Reveal  Breathalyzer Secrets

The manufacturers of these machines continue to thumb their noses at the courts, unwilling to let anyone see what is inside these "black boxes" that act as judge and jury in DUI cases.  See Breathalyzer Manufacturer Thumbs Nose at Courts, Secret Breathalyzer Software Still Secret .

In what may be a growing trend, the State of Ohio announced yesterday that it is cancelling massive purchases of one of the machines, the popular Intoxilyzer 8000, citing the questions of reliability raised in the court challenges in other states.


State Reverses $6.4 Million Purchase Order for Controversial Drunken-Driving Testing Machine

Columbus, OH.  Dec. 1  -  The Ohio Controlling Board on Monday pulled a $6.4 million order it approved just two weeks ago for the purchase of a controversial drunken-driving testing machine.

The board unanimously agreed to reconsider releasing funds to purchase 700 breath-testing machines from a Kentucky company after The Plain Dealer reported that the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 8000 is being challenged in courts in several states…

The machine’s accuracy is being challenged in Florida, Arizona and Minnesota where thousands of cases have either been delayed or dismissed because CMI has refused court orders to release the machines’ source code, or software.

Defense attorneys have said they need the codes to show that the machines are flawed and can easily be manipulated. And while CMI has promised to release the software to attorneys here if the machines came under litigation, attorneys say the confidential agreement they would have to abide by would make the information useless.

Furthermore, it might be a moot point. (Public Safety Department counsel Joshua) Engel predicted "we will not see any lawsuits in Ohio" because the Ohio Supreme Court established in an earlier ruling that the accuracy of drunken driving testing machines could not be brought up as a defense.


It looks like Ohio is asking themselves the same question I’ve been asking:  "What are they hiding?".  Oh, and let me repeat that last paragraph in the news story:


(Public Safety Department counsel Joshua) Engel predicted "we will not see any lawsuits in Ohio" because the Ohio Supreme Court established in an earlier ruling that the accuracy of drunken driving testing machines could not be brought up as a defense.


What?  An American citizen accused of driving over .08% is not permitted to question the accuracy of the machine — the only blood-alcohol evidence in the case?

Yep.  Ohio is the only state in the country saying that if a breath machine is approved for use by the State, it’s accuracy cannot be challenged in court.  See the Ohio Supreme Court case of State v. Vega, 12 Ohio St.3d 185, 465 N.E.2d 1303 (1984). 

The DUI Exception to the Constitution lives on….

  

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