Prosecutors in Maricopa County are fighting a Superior Court judge’s ruling to eliminate blood evidence in 11 DUI cases which could affect previous DUI convictions in Scottsdale.
Defense attorneys in the 11 aggravated-DUI and extreme-DUI cases argued that defective equipment and lab administrators of the Scottsdale Police Crime Lab did not meet scientific standards to merit or account for the accuracy of the four-year-old blood-testing machine. They also questioned the capability of the lab employees, doubting their ability to detect errors should they occur.
In August, Judge Jerry Bernstein barred prosecutors from introducing the machine’s blood-testing results in the 11 cases, and in response, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed a special action challenging this ruling.
The appeal stated that Bernstein misunderstood the state’s grounds for evidentiary dismissal and that a handful of errors revealed in the court could not condemn a machine that has conducted thousands of tests during a two-year period.
The machine performed more than 20,000 tests during a two-year period, and although the lab has suspended its use, prosecutors argue that there is allowance for a slight margin of error.
Of the 31 problem tests recorded in the appeal, the County Attorney’s office must determine whether these are the only bad results that Scottsdale is aware of, and if the lab has conducted an audit and can confirm that of the thousands of tests conducted, these 31 are the only erred ones.
This evidentiary debate has caused concern because if the ruling stands, any DUI convictions in the past few years in Scottsdale could be called into question.
Currently, the Scottsdale City Prosecutor’s Office is not considering the superior court’s decision at all in its evaluation of cases and extension of plea offers. Judges have precluded defense attorneys from even mentioning the decision at trial, allowing many jurors to remain uninformed of such problems.
As always, having an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side can help prevent or correct a wrongful conviction. Seeking professional counsel is the best choice if you or a loved one is involved in a DUI case. You need someone who can get you the best outcome possible and challenge any injustices that have already, or could come your way.