More False Blood-Alcohol Tests

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on February 4th, 2010

I wrote a couple of months ago about a growing number of false blood-alcohol tests that had been discovered in the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab.  At the time, about 1,000 tests were suspect, of which 82 had been confirmed as being falsely high.  See Hundreds in Denver Possibly Convicted with Falsely High Blood Tests.  The number of those falsely convicted continues to grow, with no end in sight….


Audit : Number of Inflated DUI Tests Has Doubled

Colorado Springs, CO.  Jan. 30 - The number of flawed blood alcohol tests has doubled since a Colorado Springs Police Crime Lab internal audit last year discovered that some results were inflated, authorities said last week.

Results in 167 DUI cases have been called into question, up from the initial 82 that were disclosed in December, according to 4th Judicial District Senior Deputy District Attorney Frederick Stein.

Stein could not say yet what the impact of the erroneous tests would be on the criminal cases involved, but added that the DA’s office hopes have a report compiling those outcomes within the next two weeks.

On Dec. 11, the police department reported that a routine audit had discovered the errors and began both an internal and external investigation into how reported test results came in higher than the actual level.

At the time, the department started re-testing about 1,000 blood alcohol test results taken since January 2009…

The Colorado Bureau of Investigations is conducting the external investigation while the police department conducts its own internal review. Both of those investigations are ongoing, police spokesman Lt. David Whitlock said Friday.

“I can’t say anything definitive about the underlying cause,” Whitlock said.

In January, the police department also disclosed that a refrigerator that held DNA evidence had malfunctioned over a four-day period in December. Police, however, said experts did not believe the 235 samples of blood, semen and urine had been rendered unusable by the accident…


(Note: if blood specimens aren’t refrigerated, they will ferment — causing alcohol to be produced in the blood samples.)

So…167 DUI convictions based on false test results and rising — in just one city during one year.  How many similar errors have gone undetected or unreported in other cities during that one year alone?  How many tens of thousands of citizens across the country have been convicted of drunk driving based upon similar false evidence?

 
(Thanks to Jeanne Pruett.)
 

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