So, you are ready to get in the car and take that big Memorial Day trip. Beware, state troopers are on the prowl and the Ohio State Highway Patrol promises to be very active this holiday weekend making sure we behave well and get to our destination safely. The National Motorists Association has compiled a SPEED TRAP EXCHANGE (www.speedtrap.org) to warn motorists of spots where patrols will be particularly brisk. If you make use of this valuable tool, be sure to join the National Motorists Association as it is one of the foremost citizen rights groups in the United States. Charles Rowland has been a proud member and sponsor for many years. The NMA also has some great DUI resources.
Posts Tagged ‘Organizations’
When you hear a DUI/OVI attorney decrying “junk science” that is used in court, they are most likely referring to the fact that the air blown into the breath test machine for purposes of testing cannot be the same air that is exchanged with the deep lung alveolar sacs. It is impossible to limit the breath test to limit itself to deep lung alveolar air. The theory breaks down because: IF THE MAJORITY OF AIR BEING MEASURED HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BLOOD EXCHANGE THEN THE TEST IS NOT MEASURING THE AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IN THE BLOOD. The machine does not an cannot discriminate in its air sample. It will measure and analyze the 1.5 liter of breath that it is given. The problems with the theory is that the breath machine has to assume a similar lung volume amongst the population. Common sense dictates that a 21 year old, 6 foot male in perfect health blowing 7 liters of air IS DIFFERENT than an 65 year old, 5 foot 2 inch woman who may only blow 1.5 liters.
The major injustice in DUI/OVI law in Ohio is that attorneys are prevented from attacking the “junk science” of breath tests machines due to the decision in State v. Vega. As amazing as it seems, Ohio has decided that if the government says the science is good enough, then attorneys cannot challenge it. Imagine if the same philosophy were used in other areas of criminal law. What if the Ohio legislature decided that eye-witnesses were inherently reliable and an attorney could not challenge them at trial. What is to stop them from saying that police officers are inherently reliable and they too are free from cross examination.
Our American values suggest that when the government accuses you of a crime you have the right (and your attorney the duty) to challenge the evidence against you. If attorneys vigorously fight, the police are trained to do a better job. Judges who hold the state to a higher standard protect the citizens from tyranny. Being pro-law enforcement should not ever mean we give them a pass, but that we hold them to such a standard that even in the most difficult case we trust the system. The maxim that 10 guilty should go free rather than one innocent be punished express the highest esteem for law enforcement and for our system. Allowing junk science in DUI cases has an opposite and corrosive effect to our American values.
GetMADD, http://getmadd.com is a leading voice against the neo-prohibition tactics employed by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Here is a sample of their content:
Follow the Money:
And you thought it was about saving lives
In 2006, MADD received $4,436,481 from arrestees who in MADD’s words were ‘forced’ to sit in on their VIP panels.
The 2004 figure was $3,749,000
The 2005 figure was $3,957,095
(More arrests=more money for MADD. Hmm).
An interested party recently asked: If you were born at 11:00 pm, can you begin drinking on your 21st birthday at midnight or do you have to wait until 11:00 pm on your birthday? Well, according to State v. Yarger 2009-Ohio-543, 3rd District Court of Appeals: View Court Published Official Document, the State of Ohio does not recognize fractions of a day. Based upon this ruling it is appropriate to serve alcohol to persons at the stroke of midnight on the date of their birth, regardless of the time of birth. Thanks to www.OVIlaw.com for doing a great job collecting caselaw. Happy Birthday!
I am writing to alert NACDL membership to an important development that may have a significant impact on criminal defense practice. The National Research Council today released a sweeping critique of current forensic science methods presented by police and prosecutors in courtrooms across the country. The report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, found that too many “crime” labs evince a prosecutorial bias more oriented toward convicting suspects rather than scientific truth. It found that many currently accepted fields are based on outmoded or untested theories propounded by non-scientists or technicians with insufficient or no background in biological or physical sciences, statistics or mathematics, and that many of those self-styled experts exaggerate their conclusions and/or testify beyond their expertise. The report, which was ordered by Congress in 2005 and cost $1.5 million, was released at 1 p.m. Eastern time and may be downloaded from the National Academies’ web site. More information and a direct link to the report will be posted on NACDL’s Web site later today.
Charles M. Rowland is a proud member of the National Academy of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Ohio Academy of Criminal Defense Lawyers. If you have a DUI case involving forensic science contact Ohio’s only FSA certified attorney at 937-897-9542 or 1-888-ROWLAND.