BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Three more Massachusetts district attorney’s offices are taking action in light of questions about the reliability of Breathalyzer tests administered during drunken driving investigations.
The Suffolk district attorney’s office announced Thursday that it will request continuances in any pending drunken driving cases involving evidence from Breathalyzer tests.
The Northwestern district attorney’s office — which covers Franklin and Hampshire counties — announced that “in an abundance of caution” it is temporarily suspending use of Breathalyzer results in pending drunken driving cases.
The Worcester district attorney’s office also instructed prosecutors to stop introducing Breathalyzer results in cases until further notice.
The Middlesex, Essex and Cape and Islands district attorneys have already taken action.
The possible problem has to do with the machines’ calibration, and the state Executive Office of Public safety is investigating.
Marsha Kazarosian, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, says there should be an independent investigation concerning the breadth and scope of potential problems with Breathalyzers.
She adds that the investigator should also have no ties to law enforcement to “preserve the integrity of the investigation.
Kazarosian says the state has to ensure the reliability of those tests.
“If you’re going to be convicted on a number, you better be darn sure that number is correct and what led up to getting that number was pristine and clear, and there is nothing wrong with the analysis,” Kazarosian said.
She says often times people plead guilty in drunk-driving cases because the numbers say they’re guilty. But if the numbers are wrong, that’s not justice, she added.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports:
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