I’ve posted repeatedly in the past about the inaccuracy and unreliability of breath and blood alcohol testing in crime labs. See, for example, How Breathalyzers Work (and Why They Don’t) and Report: Breathalyzers Outdated, Unstable, Unreliable.
The following are just a few recent examples of a never-ending series of revelations about dishonest and incompetence in DUI chemical testing. The following is from San Antonio, Texas, but it could as easily have been from your home state….
Hundreds of DWI Tests Mishandled
San Antonio, TX. Mar 18 – News 4 San Antonio has uncovered hundreds of DWI blood test have been mishandled.
That’s the word confirmed Tuesday by Bexar County District attorney Nico Lahood. The controversy now raises questions about cases in the prosecutors office.
Darian Trotter has the exclusive details from the District Attorney and how the problem will be addressed going forward. It’s supposed to be one of the most reliable tests officers can use to determine if a person is driving under the influence Of alcohol. But News 4 San Antonio discovered blood tests for hundreds of cases were mishandled due to a personnel issue at the lab Bexar County uses to process blood tests for all alcohol related cases…
And more recently in Fort Worth….
Tarrant County DA’s Office Questions Credibility of Lab Tech
Ft. Worth, TX. June 17 — Tarrant County prosecutors have notified dozens of defense attorneys regarding the credibility of a lab technician who testified for the state in numerous DWI cases.
The Tarrant County district attorney’s office also said that the technician, Elizabeth Feller, has been barred from further testimony because she failed to disclose that she had been reprimanded for mishandling blood samples at a previous job.
Prosecutors sent out more than 180 Brady notices in mid-May that dealt with the misdemeanor DWI cases, and several others involving felonies.
This batch of disclosures is not related to the more than 4,000 Brady notices the DA’s office has sent to criminal defense attorneys after learning that the credibility of 16 officers and three breathalyzer operators had previously been brought into question, officials said. The Star-Telegram reported Sunday that District Attorney Sharen Wilson launched an exhaustive review after 22 3-inch binders, which contained more than 6,000 handwritten notes entered by past prosecutors, were found in misdemeanor offices and brought to her attention after she took office in January.
In 19 of the notes, the prosecutors accused the officer or breathalyzer operator of lying, though not always on the witness stand, Wilson has said…
Do you still think blood and breath testing in DUI cases is accurate and reliable? Beyond a reasonable doubt?
Do you think that this is limited to Texas…that it isn’t also happening where you live?
(Thanks to Joe.)