Vermont DUI Convictions May Be in Jeopardy Over Alleged Breath-Test Errors
Posted May 16, 2011 9:58 AM CST
By Stephanie Francis Ward
Hundreds of Vermont DUI convictions are being challenged by defense lawyers, who claim there was a mistake in the breath analysis machine’s software setup.
Whistler-blowers’ complaints about unethical lab work also figure in, the Associated Press reports.
Human error resulted in one machine at the Royalton State Police barracks operating for almost a year without a self-check function, which was supposed to ensure the device worked properly. Two state Department of Health chemists failed to activate the self-check function, the AP reports, before the machine went into use.
“People can go to jail and lose their driver’s licenses based on this science,’’ George Ostler, a Norwich defense lawyer, told the AP. “When they don’t maintain the machines like this, it’s disturbing.’’