Judge King Rules Alcotest is Reliable – State v. Chun

The long anticipated findings of Judge King, P.J.A.D. (ret.) were released this morning and are attached to this muni-mail. In his report to the Supreme Court, Judge King finds that the Alcotest is a generally reliable scientific instrument for determining the blood-alcohol concentration of living human beings. His report will be the foundation for the factual findings and conclusions of law when the Supreme Court ultimately rules on the scientific reliability of this instrument later this year. In his report, Judge King also made numerous procedural recommendations designed to enhance the accuracy of the instrument’s test results and the fairness of its use to DWI defendants. Among those recommendations were:

1. The use of a breath temperature sensor by the state.

2. A downward adjustment of 6.58% downward adjustment to all BAC readings until the breath temperature sensor is put in use.

3. Communication of data obtained from alcotest units to a central database on a periodic basis.

4. A minimum air sample of 1.2 liters for women over the age of 60 and a general 1.5 liters of air requirement for the remainder of the population.

5. A listing of the foundational documents required for admissibility of the Alcotest results, said documents to be admitted as business records.

6. A tolerance range among the 4 readings produced by 2 tests that would be “tightened” to a range of 10% of the average of the 4 readings.

Following the publication of this report, the attorneys involved in the case will have approximately two weeks to submit their briefs to the Supreme Court. A date for oral argument should follow.

Download a copy of the report.

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