Daily Archives: October 28, 2011
My past two posts have dealt with the Houston grand jury investigating cover-ups of breathalyzer problems by the District Attorney’s office. In related developments in this fascinating saga, a defense attorney representing a client charged with drunk driving has subpoenaed the District Attorney for the trial:
Harris County District Attorney Called to Testify in DWI Trial
Houston, TX. Oct. 28 – A day after the revelation that her office is the target of a grand jury investigation, District Attorney Pat Lykos was called to testify Thursday in an ongoing DWI trial because she made public comments regarding the accuracy of results from the Houston Police Department’s troubled mobile breath-testing vehicles.
“The reliability of the BAT [breath alcohol testing] vans has come into serious question by the chief prosecutor of Harris County herself,” declared Jackie Carpenter, a defense attorney in the DWI trial. “If they’re so unreliable, then why are you prosecuting someone with evidence you deem unreliable?”
Reversing an earlier decision to compel Lykos to testify, County Court at Law judge John Clinton ruled Thursday that the top prosecutor’s opinions on the breath-alcohol testing vehicles – known as BAT vans – are relevant in the DWI trial.
An assistant district attorney, one of more than 240 under Lykos’ authority, is handling the misdemeanor case. If Lykos appears, she could be cross-examined by one of her own prosecutors.
The testimony could affect dozens of past and future DWI cases that relied on evidence handled by the testing equipment in the vans.
Even more serious is the possibility that Lykos and other prosecutors had doubts about the tests’ accuracy while prosecuting past DWI cases but did not alert defense attorneys…
Fascinating stuff. The public is finally getting a look behind the so-called “state of the art” magical machines used to convict citizens. The readings from these machines have been deemed so reliable that, by law, they are deemed sufficient “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict. As I’ve been saying for years, however, these machines are little more than “pseudo-science”. See, for example, How Breathalyzers Work (and Why They Don’t), Why Breathalyzers Don’t Measure Alcohol and Report: Breathalyzers Outdated, Unstable, Unreliable.