Freeman Klopott of the Examiner has the eagle eyes. Late yesterday, he spotted a series of dropped cases by D.C Attorney General Irvin Nathan, all of which were DUIs. Last Spring, the Intoxilyzer 5000 series blood alcohol testers fell under serious scrutiny when 8 of the department’s 10 units were suspected of producing faulty results. Since then, the Police Department has been trying to get the new Intoximeter machines certified with the medical examiner’s office, but failing that, they were pulled off the street last week.
Police were collecting evidence using the Intoximeter machines, but according to internal police emails presented by Klopott, not presenting those results in court as certified evidence, due to the conflict with the medical examiner’s officer over certification. As an intermediary measure, police are now collecting urine samples from suspects to use in court.
I think there’s something doubly scary here: 1) That Police can’t trust their own equipment to give them solid results and 2) even if they could, watching case after case be thrown out while the potentially irresponsible go free without punishment will have an effect on morale.