27,000 Massachusetts DUI Convictions Could Be Tossed
Problems with breathalyzer tests in Massachusetts could result in as many as 27,000 drunk driving convictions being overturned.
The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is scheduled to hear arguments on December 7 in Commonwealth v. Lindsay Hallinan.
Commonwealth Magazine reported that "The case is a capstone to seven years of litigation over the validity of breathalyzer tests and hinges on whether the misconduct of a state agency that hid documents related to the alcohol tests was egregious enough that it merits the reopening of thousands of guilty pleas and convictions."
A decade ago, a similar scandal at a Massachusetts state lab resulted in thousands of drug convictions being overturned.
Springfield lawyer Joseph Bernard, who has led the breathalyzer litigation, told Commonwealth Magazine the SJC should "do the right thing" by giving the 27,000 drunk driving defendants "another shot at a trial to restore confidence in the system."
The Boston-based law firm DeGiacomo & Mikhlin, P.C. challenges the reliability of the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer tests at the heart of the controversy.
The firm's website Boston Mass DUI Attorney.com states "The Draeger Alcotest 9510 cannot be trusted. This breath test machine may have resulted in thousands of DUI convictions throughout Massachusetts, which could have been avoided had state police lab officials been honest in the first place."
Commonwealth Magazine says a judge in Salem ruled in 2017 that "the test itself is accurate, but the methods used by the state's Office of Alcohol Testing to certify the instruments between 2011 and 2014 did not produce scientifically reliable results."