Breath Tests Tossed In DUIs Lab Results Invalid For 1,300

The Arizona Republic
April 15, 2000

Brent Whiting, The Arizona Republic

The following quotes are from the above-referenced article. For an exact reprint of this article click here to see the full article in PDF format.

Breath-test results in nearly 1,300 drunken-driving cases were tossed out Friday by a Phoenix judge, handing a major legal victory to defense attorneys.

[Judge Carroll] sided with arguments by defense lawyers that record-keeping practices by the Phoenix Crime Laboratory during the 42-month period deprived defendants of finding out whether breath-test results were obtained on machines that were properly maintained and calibrated.

Defense attorney Craig Penrod said he's disappointed that Carroll didn't go one more step by dismissing the cases.

"The bottom line is that he found a due-process violation and that defendants who had breath tests during the period didn't have a fair chance to challenge the results," Penrod said.

The ruling means that prosecutors. . .are barred from using breath-test readings obtained by the Intoxilyzer 5000.

But without such test results, defense lawyers said, it's often difficult to prove a DUI case beyond a reasonable doubt.

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