Two years worth of alcohol breathalyzer tests central to tens of thousands of Massachusetts drunk driving cases are being tossed by a judge who ruled prosecutors failed to prove a state crime lab was properly testing the machines.
Concord District Court Judge Robert Brennan ruled last month that the Commonwealth’s Office of Alcohol Testing didn’t abide the proper scientifically reliable protocols for calibration of some 350 breathalyzer machines used by law enforcement officers from June 2012 to September 2014. There were also reportedly no clear, written standards for how these devices were supposed to be set up. Absent those kinds of standards, the results can’t be used in a courtroom, the judge ruled.
The public defender in charge of filing the challenge argued prosecutors were using the machines in a manner that resulted in unjust outcomes. Defense attorneys said their concern is to ensure that such tests are both fair and accurate and that those whose actions were not clearly in violation of state OUI statutes aren’t convicted wrongly. Continue reading