Archive for December 14th, 2009

Hundreds In Denver Possibly Convicted With Falsely High Blood Tests

Monday, December 14th, 2009

I’ve written often in the past about the unreliability and inaccuracy of breath tests in DUI cases. Because some readers have said, "Ok, but what about blood tests?", I’ve also pointed out the many problems with testing blood samples as well.  See, for example, Fermentation in Blood Produces…Alcohol and What Happens if a DUI Suspect’s Blood Coagulates?.

For those who seem to think that blood analysis for alcohol is any more reliable in drunk driving cases than breath tests, consider this recent news story:
 

Colo. Springs Lab Says Blood-Alcohol Tests Wrong

Denver, CO.  December 11 — Hundreds of DUI and criminal cases in Colorado Springs could be affected by the discovery of faulty blood-alcohol tests.

Police there said Friday that about 82 tests have been found so far showing a higher blood-alcohol content than the true result. An internal investigation found problems with results of tests of blood samples at the Metro Crime Lab since January.

More than 1,000 blood-alcohol samples tested since then are being retested, with the new results going to the El Paso County district attorney and the Department of Revenue, which issues driver’s licenses. Police spokesman Dave Whitlock said the DA’s office and revenue department officials are researching the impact of the new results on criminal cases and civil revocation of driver’s licenses…

"It puts a lot things into question," said Sandy Mullins, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, a group representing defense attorneys across the state. "We take a lot of these tests as fact, when in fact these are being administered by people and systems. Just like any system, they can be faulty."

Of greatest concern is cases where people who couldn’t afford to challenge the test pleaded guilty or were convicted.

"You’re up against the machine," Mullins said. "’You’re saying I was not drunk, I know I had only this much alcohol.’ They’re saying: ‘Your blood had this much and the test doesn’t lie.’ This proves that tests do lie sometimes."


Yes, tests do lie…more often than the public is aware.  The only thing unique in this story is that the inaccuracies were discovered — and published.
 

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