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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Apr 17, 2013

Forensic evidence for hundreds of Scottsdale DUI cases is being called into question after a Supreme Court evidentiary hearing regarding the credibility of their machines and software.

The accredited lab decided to load older software onto their newer blood-testing machines back in 2009, which is now being dubbed as faulty. Attorneys for the case are questioning whether or not the lab should be accredited or not, since correct protocol was not being used in installing the new softwear.  The technician allegedly used the newer program on the older gas chromatographer because lab employees were used to reading the results from that equipment.

In 2010, the supervisor claimed that 50% of the results were incorrect, which was from the incompatibility of the software. A technician from the manufacturer, PerkinElmer, was sent to fix the machine. The only problem was that it didn’t really fix the issue; according to court documents, only a patch was used to overlap and conceal the problems. The patch also carried a disclaimer that it was still undergoing testing; therefore PerkinElmer could not be liable for any issues.

The Scottsdale police have also drawn criticism since court documents indicate that officers were aware of the faulty equipment. Among some of the problems involve mislabeling vials with wrong numbers and names, an unexpected failure during the test, and deleted baseline information. A Tucson based defense attorney claims that each month there is a major error with an unexpected result.

Over 2,500 DUIs were cited in Scottsdale for 2012, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. About 150 of those cases were felony DUI, which are far more severe, and rely heavily on the lab results for court hearings. Eleven felony cases DUI cases have been part of the Supreme Court’s investigation into the faulty equipment. The results from this case could have a large impact on the use of forensic evidence for Arizona DUIs.