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  • Breathalyzer calibration could cost city and police

    The news in philly is reporting their breathalyzer machine got improperly calibrated from Sept. 2009. 1147 DUI cases could be in jeopardy . This is not good. Here are some links.


    http://www.examiner.com/in-pictures-...act-1000-cases




    http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?se...cal&id=8029518

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/d...DUI-cases.html

  • #2
    There is more to a DUI case than just the PBT.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Reef_Cop View Post
      There is more to a DUI case than just the PBT.
      I don't think these were a PBT but in fact an IR8000 or whatever they use. It still shouldn't change much because you still have to have Probable Cause to arrest someone prior to taking them for a breath test for DUI/DWI/OWI.

      Whats funny is that no other attorney picked up on the calibration error. Usually a good attorney for DWI/DUI/OWI is all over that stuff like a dog humping a chair.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Reef_Cop View Post
        There is more to a DUI case than just the PBT.
        True, but juries don't understand stuff like that. Dollars to donuts, if any of these losers demand a retrial, they'll get off.
        "Son, you are a walkin' violation of the laws of nature...But we don't enforce them laws."

        I am just a country boy tryin' to make some sense
        But I'd like to ask the Congress, I'd like to ask the President
        "Can ya tell me where all the money went?"
        We might not be broke but we're badly bent!


        The Tractors -- "Badly Bent" from the album Owner's Manual

        "Common sense. So rare, it should be a super power." Exodus 259

        Comment


        • #5
          No jury trial for DWI. Just the judge.
          Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

          Comment


          • #6
            I assume that the instruments (NOT the "m" word) in question are, in fact, Breathalyzer 900 or 900A? Or is everyone calling the instruments in question "Breathalyzers" as a generic reference?

            Either way, in Canada, we have to send ALL approved screening devices (ASD, or PBT for the USA - Alcotest 7410 GLC is the most common), approved breath analysis instruments (AI - whether the Breathalyzer 900 / 900A, Intoxilyzer 5000C, Datamaster C, Intoxilyzer 8000C or Intox EC / IR II, as well as others I have not used) and ancillary equipment (thermometers, whether in the equillibrator / baby bottle for the 900 / 900A, or in the simulator for the ASD and other AI, as well as the simulator itself) for annual maintenance / checking by the manufacturers' authorized personnel, which are usually the distributor that the equipment was purchased from.

            ASD **must** have their calibration checked and confirmed, or adjusted, every 30 days (it was every 15 days from 1978 until recently) by an AI Qualified Technician, which is an LEO / PO trained in use of the AI and appointed for that purpose by the Attorney General for each Province that the LEO / PO works in.

            AI **must** have their calibration checked and confirmed by the QT for EVERY test conducted; all above other than the 900 / 900A have to be connected to a wet-bath alcohol standard in a heated simulator where the solution **must** be changed by a QTevery 15 days or 50 uses. During the 15 day / 50 use change-over, the QT's analysis of the standard**must** be within 5% of the target value, while during the operational subject tests it **must** be within 5% of TV.

            ASD user training is generally 4 hours long hands-on in-class. AI QT training for new QT is about 20 hours of pre-requisite self-study on-line (metric system, law, physiology of alcohol) PLUS 40 hours hands-on in-class (practice with simulators with known and unknown alcohol concentration solutions and non-ethanolics (isopropanol and methanol), law, moot court, practice with live drinking subjects). Refresher training for current QT is 8 hours. Conversion training for current QT for a new AI is 24 hours.

            ASD user training is conducted by experienced AI QT, while ASD calibrator and AI QT Training is currently run by Police Civilian employees with biology degrees, assisted by experienced QT.

            Court decisions require us to disclose to Defence / accused ALL documentation for ASD, AI and ancillary equipment (annual and unscheduled maintenance, calibration check sheets, operational test reports).

            I have been doing this for over 31 years, as an ASD user, calibrator and user-trainer and AI QT and QT trainer.
            Last edited by PeteBroccolo; 03-23-2011, 11:04 PM. Reason: fumble-fingers!
            #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
            Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
            RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
            Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
            "Smile" - no!

            Comment


            • #7
              The department relied on 1 person to do all set up and calibration of these units. There should have been a 2 person team that way you have a second set of eyes to double check the units. Now the 1 person is on the hook and will probably at least get a administrative letter of reprimand worse case they are fired.
              GOD IS A NINJA WITH A SNIPER RIFLE, WAITING TO TAKE YOU OUT.

              "For weapons training they told me to play DOOM"

              Comment


              • #8
                The breathalyzers in question here are those used for official chemical testing of BAC. The PBT isn't admissible for DUI in PA, it's just an investigative tool. While it is much more difficult to try a DUI without chemical testing, it is possible especially when an arrested suspect refuses the chemical testing. If these arresting officers are worth their weight, not all these cases will be lost unless the DA lets them go.
                West Chester University B.S. Criminal Justice: May 2009
                Delaware County Community College Municipal Police Academy Class 126: July-Dec 2009
                Full time Patrolman in Chester County, PA.

                Comment


                • #9
                  What was the effect of the improper calibration on actual results?
                  Higher, lower, or same?
                  Any views or opinions presented by this prenomen are solely those of a burlesque author and do not necessarily represent those of a LEA or caementum couturier.

                  nom de plume

                  This is the internet- take all information with a grain of salt. Such could be valid and true or could be typed just for playing devils advocate.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    and waiting to get to use the machine is like an hr or 2 long at the roundhouse.
                    I don't answer recruitment messages....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stormz5192 View Post
                      No jury trial for DWI. Just the judge.
                      Maybe that's the case in NJ but in PA the defendant has the right to a jury trial if he/she wants one.
                      When Society makes war on its police, it better be prepared to make friends of its criminals.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PeteBroccolo View Post
                        Or is everyone calling the instruments in question "Breathalyzers" as a generic reference?
                        When a reporter uses Breathalyzer with a lower-case B, I take is as a sign he/she doesn't really know what they're talking about.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
                          When a reporter uses Breathalyzer with a lower-case B, I take is as a sign he/she doesn't really know what they're talking about.
                          You had me at "When a reporter".

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PABear31 View Post
                            Maybe that's the case in NJ but in PA the defendant has the right to a jury trial if he/she wants one.
                            PABear, do Philly area troopers use the machine @ the PAB or do they go to the local barracks?
                            I don't answer recruitment messages....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Most PSP stations have their own intoxilizers. At the station I worked we had it removed because the county DA prefered that we draw blood. We also prefered using blood because the local hospital was faster than calling in an operator even if one was working at the time. I would assume that the Belmont barracks has an intoxilizer unless thay too have gone to only blood draws.
                              When Society makes war on its police, it better be prepared to make friends of its criminals.

                              Comment

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