👨‍⚖️ Mass. Judge Bans Breathalyzer Use for 60 Days, Orders State to Address Malfunctions

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This month a district court judge in Middlesex County allowed a criminal defense attorney’s motion to

(1) suspend the use of breath test results in criminal matters pending throughout the Commonwealth,

(2) reopen the hearing on the reliability of the Draeger Alcotest 9510,

(3) order all breath tests from Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer machines that were last calibrated on or after April 19, 2019 excluded from criminal prosecutions.

The judge’s order is good for 60 days.  During that time the state must address a number of issues that have been raised concerning the efficacy of its breathalyzers.

According to the court,

These issues clearly require prompt resolution.  Breathalyzer results undeniably are among the most incriminating and powerful pieces of evidence in prosecutions involving either alcohol impairment or “per se” blood alcohol percentage as an element.  Their improper inclusion in criminal cases not only unfairly impacts individual defendants, but also undermines public confidence in the criminal justice system.

The defendants’ attorney was Joseph Bernard whose office is in Springfield.  He spoke about the case with Mass Lawyers Weekly saying

This machine has been riddled with issues, and the taxpayers, the citizens, along with the criminal justice system all deserve better.  

To read the judge’s order, click the document below:

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