Courts are pushing back just the tiniest bit against breathalyzers, which is nice because the theory behind the device might be good, but if no one knows the actual implementation, theory is useless.
Manatee County Judge Doug Henderson ruled two years ago that any Intoxilyzer 5000 tests were inadmissible in trial, but prosecutors appealed. On Tuesday, Henderson told lawyers that his ruling had been affirmed by the Second District Court of Appeal and Circuit Court.
Henderson instructed attorneys to draft an order reflecting the court’s decision, and that he planned to sign it, he told the Bradenton Herald.
The announcement could mean long-awaited conclusions to a legal fight that has stalled the cases in Manatee and Sarasota counties. It was unclear late Tuesday whether other appeals were possible.
Prosecutors must now decide whether to take the cases to trial without that evidence or reduce or dismiss the DUI charges.
Defense attorneys have challenged the machines, saying their clients have a right to have DUI defense experts analyze whether the machines function properly.
But Kentucky-based CMI Inc., the company that makes Florida’s breath-test machines, refused to release its source code, or computer software. Both Henderson and Sarasota County Judge David Denkin ordered CMI to divulge the code, but CMI said it is a protected trade secret.
This second clip shows why the obvious “testing” method of seeing how the machine responds to various levels of alcohol metabolites in the breath is kinda useless, unless you know its responses to everything else in the world.
rosecutors inquired why the machine had registered a “fail,” which prevents the car from starting, despite the man’s claims that he had not been drinking.
The man claimed the alcohol reading was the result of eating a Bubble O’ Bill ice cream treat and Magistrate Rod Crisp ordered a test to be performed to back up the claim. Police recorded the man’s blood alcohol content as 0.00 and performed the test a second time after he took a few bites of Bubble O’ Bill, yielding a 0.018 reading.