For Scottsdale DUI charges, local prosecutors and law enforcement have regularly used a number of elements for conclusive evidence. Two of these come from the suspect himself: a breath alcohol content test result and a blood test. While the former is easily taken and collected in the field at the point of arrest, the blood test is regularly taken once the suspect is arrested and booked down at the police station. However, in August 2013, a Scottsdale judge who regularly hears Scottsdale DUI cases made a noticeable decision to wipe out blood test evidence in 11 different cases. The same conclusion could end up spreading to other cases as well.
The Scottsdale superior court decision made by Judge Jerry Bernstein was based on the finding that the Scottsdale Police Department’s criminal lab blood-testing equipment used did not produce valid results. Scottsdale DUI defense attorneys were paying keen attention to the finding and comparing their own past records as to which past cases the same equipment was used in to produce evidence.
To make matters worse, the Police lab’s employees also testified that business processes were followed to make sure that even if the equipment used was faulty, the Scottsdale DUI mistakes would be found before the results would be used for Scottsdale DUI case evidence. However, Judge Bernstein decided there was enough proof that the equipment and processes failed Scottsdale DUI fair trials.
However, the County disagrees. Instead, it immediately planned an appeal of the ruling, likely arguing that their equipment and processes work correctly. That said, the appeal seems weak. The Police Lab’s emails documented likely issues and problems with blood-testing equipment, specifically the gas chromatograph tester. The Scottsdale DUI errors ranged from the machine putting the wrong labels and data on the test vials to failure of the equipment during the testing process, wiping out comparison baseline data that a suspect’s sample would be compared to.
The Police lab employees went so far as to argue repeatedly that their equipment worked properly, and if mistakes occurred in Scottsdale DUI cases they were caught before being released. These sworn statements were then contradicted by the employees’ emails in the same hearings. Worse, the emails were exposed due to a public records request after the employees had testified in court to the opposite. The proceedings may have exposed some of these employees to potential perjury, but that issue has not yet been raised publicly.
While the majority of the 11 cases have had prior DUI charges and sentencing, and prosecutors keep wanting to focus attention on the apparent habit of these suspects continuing to allegedly break the law with DUI violations, the above matter goes to the core of how evidence is gathered, particularly with biological samples from a suspect. If a court can’t rely on the Police using evidence gathering tests that are above reproach, there’s no point in using any of the data at all. It becomes subjective and biased, which can be very powerful in front of a jury.
To many it seems clear that prosecutors have bent the rules at times to win convictions, and instances like the above occur when such agencies are pulled back in line and reminded the rules apply to them as well. A good legal defense will look for such behavior and bring it to the attention of the court for a response and action. So if you find yourself facing a Scottsdale DUI charge, give our office a call for help. While many prosecutors and law enforcement act responsibly, sometimes a few don’t. Don’t let it happen in your case.