Here is the link.
Many DUI cases in Florida have been tossed out because the manufacturer of the breath-alcohol tests used to catch them refused to “disclose how the machines work.”
All four of Seminole County’s criminal judges have been using a standard that if a DUI defendant asks for a key piece of information about how the machine works – its software source code, for instance – and the state cannot provide it, the breath test is rejected, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.
Prosecutors have said they do not know how many drunken drivers have been acquitted as a result. But Gino Feliciani, the misdemeanor division chief in the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office, said the conviction rate has dropped to 50 percent or less.
First, I need to praise the person who first got acquitted using this tactic. Although it isn’t that hard to circumvent the judicial system and its process and get away with crimes, this is pretty clever. It needed the manufacturer to not reveal the machine’s inner workings, and for the judge to allow that defense, but somehow the man got away with it. Others followed the man’s example, and rightfully so.
It hasn’t worked it all places. “Judges in other counties have said the opposite: The state cannot turn over something it does not possess, and the manufacturer should not have to turn over trade secrets.” This is the nature of the system, that every judge has a different opinion and perspective on things and it affects how each case will proceed.
But this is also where I think the real flaws of the system do the most damage. Some cases become precedents for further cases, like Roe V. Wade, and change the entire country. Despite what people say about the lack of need for judges – that lawyers and juries decided the cases, judges can determine and guide their outcomes.
Yes, if the manufacturer of the breathalyzers don’t show how test works which proved that the people were driving over the legal alcohol limit, then there is no real case. But the breathalyzer is pretty much a universally accepted method for detecting the alcohol limit. Not knowing a test’s accuracy is one thing, but not knowing how it works is another. These people broke the law and endangered the lives of many people. These people made serious mistakes in driving and driving, and there is a likelihood that they might repeat those mistakes. How can you let them off the hook?