By Garth O'Brien | October 28, 2007
Filed Under DUI News
Skagit County, Washington. Here is some background before I make my rah rah constitutional rights rant. Those arrested for DUI are asked whether or not they want to submit to a breath test. This is a voluntary test in Washington State. However, refusing the breath test at the police station greatly increases the consequences.
The breath machine, BAC DataMaster, and the simulator solution work together to provide an “accurate” breath reading. The Washington State Patrol has a breath test section of officers that maintain the DataMasters all across the state.
The Washington State Toxicology lab creates and certifies the simulator solution. This liquid basically tells the machine what a 0.08 breath sample should look like. So when the DUI suspect blows into the machine there is the 0.08 sample right behind the machine. It is quite more complicated, but that is for another post.
A lab technician at the state tox lab signed under penalty of perjury the solution certification they conducted was accurate. The former lab manager, Anne Marie Gordon signed sworn statements that she alone certified her batch of simulator solutions. However, lab tech Ed Formoso was the individual that certified the solutions. Anne Marie Gordon committed perjury by signing those documents.
Of course that travesty of justice does not impact the results of the breath test, if the solution was indeed certified correctly. The Skagit County judges ruled that way as well. The 51 DUI cases will not be dismissed because the governmental misconduct did not impact the accuracy of the evidence. Brilliant.
Those judges essentially support a justice system where law enforcement and toxicology technicians can lie about a criminal investigation and evaluation of evidence. How is it lost on these judges that this is America. Our justice system only works when the state plays by the rules and laws. How can our society have any faith in our law enforcement agencies when they can get away with lying against those facing the loss of liberty?
Of course I would feel terrible if 51 DUI cases were dismissed, but I am horrified with the state’s conduct. I am horrified those safeguarding the halls of justice are not protecting the citizens. Merely stating what the state did was wrong, but the cases still stand is flat out disgusting.
Everyone knows someone that has been arrested for DUI. When I was defending DUIs 85% of my clients had never been arrested. These people were your community members, friends and even family members. Would you want your loved ones to be prosecuted by a government that condones lying or evidence tampering? You failed miserably Skagit County. Miserably.