DUI Defendants Beat Charge By Asking for Source Code

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DUI Defendants Beat Charge By Asking for Source Code

File this under yet another ridiculous Florida ruling. What the heck is up with Florida they days? There seems to be regular occurences of legal stupidity down there.

Apparently hundreds of cases involving breath-alcohol tests have been thrown out by Seminole County judges in the past five months when the defendant asks to see the source code for the breathalyzers used on them and the test's manufacturer will not disclose the source code.

All four of Seminole County's criminal judges have been using a standard that if a DUI defendant asks for a key piece of information about how the machine works - its software source code, for instance - and the state cannot provide it, the breath test is rejected, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Prosecutors have said they do not know how many drunken drivers have been acquitted as a result. But Gino Feliciani, the misdemeanor division chief in the Seminole County State Attorney's Office, said the conviction rate has dropped to 50 percent or less.

Seminole judges have been following the lead of county Judge Donald Marblestone, who in January ruled that although the information may be a trade secret and controlled by a private contractor, defendants are entitled to it.

"Florida cannot contract away the statutory rights of its citizens," the judge wrote. (See full story)

Let's take this further - suppose you get a speeding ticket and you want to force the radar manufacturer to disclose the exact design specifications of the chip components but they refuse. When they balk, you get a free pass from paying any speeding tickets. While I certainly would enjoy free reign to do 80mph on open stretches of road without periodically paying the state-sponsored "tax on high velocity travel" I think this is the dumbest defense I've ever heard. Next, we'll have defendants asking for the design specifications of digital surveillance cameras to make sure they weren't "hacked" to use as another legal loophole defense. No wonder defense lawyers are the most hated profession.

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