Blood Tests Thrown Out in At Least 11 Drunk Driving Cases originating in Scottsdale.
Blood-test results will be suppressed in at least 11 felony drunk-driving cases that originated in Scottsdale following a Superior Court Judge’s ruling this week, which could affect hundreds of other cases.
The DUI cases were consolidated and set before Superior Court Judge Jerry Bernstein because they all challenged the validity of the blood-testing equipment in the Scottsdale Police Department’s crime lab.
The decision could affect hundreds of DUI cases in which the suspect’s blood was tested on the malfunctioning machine, and has the potential to impact thousands of other cases that have already been through court in recent years, according to defense attorneys.
A spokesman for County Attorney Bill Montgomery said the agency will appeal the ruling.
Court documents indicate Scottsdale police were aware for years of potential problems with the blood-testing equipment, known as a gas chromatograph. For example, the equipment mislabeled vials with wrong names or numbers, quit running during tests and erased baseline information from measurements during test runs.
An email originally found by The Arizona Republic showed that a representative from the machine’s manufacturer wrote to a scientist in May 2012 indicating knowledge of the issues with the machines in the Scottsdale Crime Lab which stated:
Thank you very much for sharing your concerns about our HS-GC (headspace gas chromatograph) you have in your lab. Let’s work on resolving the issue quickly so you don’t have to face defense attorney’s challenges in court related to our malfunctioning equipment
To this point Commissioner Bernstein wrote “Given the errors or problems, and the refusal to determine the why or the basis for them, significant questions arise as to the reliability and confidence in this gas chromatography instrument.” “Although there are policies and procedures that purport to act as safeguards, it is apparent they haven’t been sufficient.”
The ruling makes it highly possible that the suspects in the felony cases before Bernstein may be able to avoid jail time.
If you have been charged with a DUI call the Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys at Oracle Law Group Office.