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Friday, March 01, 2013

Ind. Courts - "Lawyer challenges certification of breath test machines"

So writes Indianapolis Star reporter Tim Evans this morning, in a front page story that begins:

Breath tests administered to drunken-driving suspects since at least Jan. 1 are invalid, an Indianapolis attorney contends in about a dozen Central Indiana court cases.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of other drunken-driving cases across the state that hinge on breath test results also could be at risk if the challenges are successful, legal experts say.

The challenges center on the Indiana Department of Toxicology’s alleged failure to update rules and authorizations for validating breath-test instruments and certifying police officers who administer the tests.

Those updates were required as part of a transition that state lawmakers ordered in 2011 after mounting concerns about management and oversight issues within the department. Lawmakers also pulled the department from its longtime home at Indiana University School of Medicine and made it a stand-alone agency.

Under the legislation, the department had a year — until July 1, 2012 — to make the required changes. But that didn’t happen, according to legal motions filed by Indianapolis attorney John Tompkins.

As a result, Tompkins said, the department’s authority to certify breath-test machines and their use by law enforcement are no longer valid.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 1, 2013 09:25 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts