Results tagged “BREATH TEST” from Columbus OVI/DUI Attorney Blog

February 16, 2013

APPELLATE COURT RULES ON INTOXILYZER 8000 ADMISSIBILITY IN CENTRAL OHIO OVI CASES

For the first time, an appellate court in Central Ohio addressed whether evidence from an Intoxilyzer 8000 is admissible in an O.V.I./D.U.I. trial. The court of appeals ultimately decided that the defendant is prohibited from challenging the general reliability of the Intoxilyzer 8000, so the results of that machine's breath tests are admissible. The court's opinion, however, contained language questioning whether that prohibition should continue to be the law in Ohio O.V.I. cases.


The case is State v. Reid. Intoxilyer 8000 photo with sign saying do not use.jpgA previous post in this blog (June 11, 2011) discussed the ruling of the trial court. The trial judge concluded that breath test results from the Intoxilyzer 8000 are not reliable enough to be admitted as evidence. The trial judge wrote, "Having heard the testimony presented in the above cases, the court finds that the Intoxilyzer 8000 has not been demonstrated by expert testimony by the Ohio Department of Health to be an accurate and reliable instrument for breath testing in O.V.I. cases." Because the breath test result was not reliable, the judge excluded breath test evidence from the defendant's trial. Without the breath test evidence, the defendant took the case to trial and was found not guilty. The prosecution appealed the trial judge's decision to the Fourth District Court of Appeals.

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November 18, 2012

INTOXILYZER 8000 CHALLENGES CONTINUE

Previous posts in this blog discussed developments with the Intoxilyzer 8000 breath-testing machine. On May 30, 2011, the post summarized the Gerome case in Athens. In Gerome, the judge held the defendant is permitted to introduce evidence of factors affecting the breath test results. Another post reported the disappearing Intoxilyzer 8000 records maintained by the Ohio Department of Health. On June 11, 2011, this blog reported the judge's decision in the Reid case in Circleville. In Reid, the prosecution did not present expert witnesses, and the judge concluded the machine's results are not reliable enough to be considered as evidence. After the Reid decision, prosecutors have taken a couple different approaches with Intoxilyzer 8000 cases.

In the Bedford Municipal Court, the prosecutor used a novel approach. At the prosecutor's request, the two judges held a hearing with an "expert" witness for the prosecution but with no defense attorney even involved. When one side is not present, that's an ex parte hearing, which is generally prohibited in criminal law. With the "expert" witness from the Ohio Department of Health not being cross-examined by a d.u.i. defense attorney, guess what happened? The judges concluded that the Intoxilyzer 8000 is accurate and reliable! In addition to having the appearance of impropriety, the decision is not binding because it was held ex parte.

In the case of State v. Lancaster in the Marietta Municipal Court, the prosecutor is doing things in the way contemplated by the adversarial system. In response to the defense challenging the reliability of the 8000, the prosecutor provided reports of three expert witnesses, and the judge is holding hearings in which the defense can cross-examine the prosecution's expert witnesses. Like the Gerome case, the local defense bar obtained the assistance of two attorneys from the O.V.I. Committee for the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Timothy Huey and me). On November 15, 2012, the first day of hearings was held, and I had the privilege of cross-examining the manager of engineering for CMI, the manufacturer of the 8000.

Two additional days of testimony have been scheduled for the State v. Lancaster case. In addition to the prosecution witnesses, the defense is going to call its own expert witnesses to discuss the 8000's reliability. When a decision is issued, which will be a few months, I'll report it here.