Court tosses out evidence in Scottsdale DUI cases - WNEM TV 5

Court tosses out evidence in Scottsdale DUI cases

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

It's a major court ruling that could impact hundreds of DUI cases in the Valley.

A Superior Court judge has tossed out key evidence in 11 drunk driving cases because of questions surrounding the Scottsdale Police Department's blood testing equipment at the city's crime lab.

CBS5 News sat down with attorneys Thursday representing some of the DUI defendants.

They said that Scottsdale P. D. violated the public's trust by using a piece of equipment they knew was not credible.

"Science is all about following minimum standards and the Scottsdale Crime lab failed in that duty," said attorney Mark Dubiel. "We had a crime lab acting as an advocate, trying to get to a result rather than following standard procedures."

The problem dates back to 2009 when a crime lab technician installed old software onto a new blood-testing machine.

But the old software may not have been compatible with the new equipment, possibly resulting in faulty results in some DUI cases.

A few months ago, Scottsdale police released this statement:

"We have met or exceeded the rigorous standards set by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors. We continue to adhere to those standards."

The Scottsdale Police Dept. has been accredited since 1996.

Attorney Lawrence Koplow said that the court ruling to throw out blood evidence for 11 defendants will likely impact hundreds of other DUI cases.

"I guarantee you, if someone has had their case adjudicated by the City of Scottsdale before today, they're going to question that result," said Koplow. "I bet jurors who voted guilty on cases will question whether they gave that person a fair trial."

Attorney Lawrence Koplow says, the court ruling to throw out blood evidence for 11 defendants, will now, likely impact hundreds of other DUI cases.

A Scottsdale police spokesperson said that they still have confidence in their lab, procedures  and staff, and don't plan on making any changes.

They said this ruling involves one piece of evidence, connected to these 11 DUI cases, and don't think it will impact any other cases.

The blood testing machine in question has been temporarily taken out of service, police officials said.

Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell released this statement:

"A judge has made a ruling regarding one aspect of 11 felony DUI cases being prosecuted by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO). We understand that this ruling will be appealed by the MCAO and our department is working with them on an appropriate response. As the judicial process moves forward, I continue to have complete confidence in our crime lab personnel and procedures."

The Scottsdale City Attorney's Office released this statement:

"The Scottsdale City Attorney's Office maintains full confidence in the evidence evaluated by Scottsdale Police Department crime lab, and is prosecuting cases in Scottsdale City Court as normal while this ruling is appealed."

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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