Archive for December, 2008

Another “Successful” DUI Roadblock: 3000 Drivers Stopped, 0 DUIs

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

I’ve railed long and hard in past posts about the unconstitutionality of DUI roadblocks ("sobriety checkpoints") — as well as about their ineffectiveness and growing abuse.  See, e.g., Do Roadblocks Work?, Do Roadblocks Work? (Part II), DUI Logic: Roadblocks Effective Because They’re Ineffective, Police Using DUI Roadblocks Illegally, Purpose of DUI Roadblocks: "Shock and Awe" and DUI Roadblocks for Fun and Profit

Just another recent example here in California:


DUI Checkpoint Finds Many Unlicensed Drivers, But No Drunks

Bakersfield, CA –  Bakersfield police impounded 84 vehicles at a DUI checkpoint Friday night in the 4600 block of Stockdale Highway. The Traffic Enforcement Detail says the event is an effort to reduce the number of people killed each year in DUI related collisions, as well as insuring motorists on city streets are in possession of a valid driver’s license.

The checkpoint was set up at the intersection of Stockdale Highway and Montclair Street around 5 p.m. Friday and taken down at 1 a.m. Saturday. Nearly 3,000 vehicles were screened by officers, resulting in 32 citations for driving on a suspended or revoked license; 53 for driving without a valid license and 32 motorists were cited for miscellaneous vehicle code violations.


Another effective roadblock:  117 citations and 84 vehicle impounds –  worth a bucket of fines to the local city treasury.  Drunk drivers?  Who cares.

Oh, and by the way, the Supreme Court carved out an exception to the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment  for roadblocks — but only for apprehending drunk drivers, not for "insuring motorists on city streets are in possession of a valid driver’s license".

 

PinterestRedditDiggShare

Yes: Ohio Bars Defendants from Challenging Breathalyzers

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

I’ve received a lot of email from readers who think there was some misunderstanding at the end of my last post, that it could not possibly be true:


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).  


That’s right, folks.  No typo, no misinterpretation, no mistake.  That has been the law in the State of Ohio for 25 years now.  Right here in America:  if you are accused of drunk driving, you are not permitted to question the reliability or accuracy of the breath machine – and the manufacturers won’t even let you see what’s inside.   The machine is judge, jury and executioner.

One of those emailing me, an individual who is highly qualified to comment, wrote:


What is interesting is your comment on Vega and Mr. Engles statement…It is indicative of the attitudes that are created when the validity of forensic science is allowed to hide behind a judges robe.  His comment was an arrogant affront to every judge in this state and an insult to our judicial system. 

What is also interesting is that in the 25 or so years since Vega, no other state has taken judicial notice nor has any other state had a similar decision. 


Just imagine if you were accused of, say, burglary based upon fingerprints found at the scene — and you were not permitted to question the fingerprint analysis.  Or you were on trial for murder– but you couldn’t challenge the DNA analysis pointing to you as the killer.

Just another example of "The DUI Exception to the Constitution".

 

PinterestRedditDiggShare

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….

  

PinterestRedditDiggShare