If integrity is the cornerstone of a fundamentally fair criminal justice system, then the bedrock supporting it has just suffered a material crack in Colorado.
.A recent CBS Denver news investigation reports that the results of scores of blood alcohol tests administered in DUI cases across the state are flawed.
And far more than marginally, in many instances.
Here's a capsule summary of the story surrounding lab test outcomes so problematic that one chemist checking the initial reports on samples tested by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said the variances observed on retesting nearly gave her "a heart attack."
The CBI has been sending blood samples to two laboratories it opened in July of last year. Since then, those labs have performed approximately 1,500 DUI tests. A select few of those samples have been retested by independent labs, with personnel in those units finding discrepancies so marked that they went public with their comments.
"Look, we have an anomaly and it's 24 percent different," one lab representative told CBS reporters.
"This is, as a simple overview, way too many discrepancies," said a tester from another lab.
Although the retesting has actually indicated a higher DUI level on retested samples in each case, one advocate for persons charged with a drunk driving offense says that the BAC spike is not what is at issue regarding the variances.
"It creates a problem with the integrity of the system," he notes, which is a viewpoint that many readers of this blog might reasonably share upon hearing that a CBI spokesperson would not provide any elucidating comments on the matter to inquiring reporters.
"[W]e don't know what the problem is," says the advocate. For that reason, he says, prosecutors need to go back and freshly examine every case where the two newer labs were involved with testing.
The mater certainly evidences what any proven criminal defense attorney who routinely handles DUI/DWAI cases knows all too well, namely, that troubling irregularities can regularly surface regarding a drinking-related stop and subsequent criminal charge.
Persons with questions or concerns about any aspect of a DUI matter can reach out to experienced defense counsel for prompt guidance and diligent representation aimed at fully protecting their legal rights and freedoms.