I had a pre trial hearing today regarding the broken Intoxilyzer machine in Kaufman. In Texas, technical supervisors are employed by DPS to maintain and verify these machines.
I was looking to suppress the evidence from a machine that had proven to be faulty and was taken out of service. We had a spirited hearing for 90 minutes, and my suppression motion was denied.
However, there was some interesting testimony on the I-5000. As a public service, here is some information on the Intoxilyzer 5000 (I-5000) and Technical Supervisors (TS).
1. Technical Supervisors have no repair on maintenance manual for the Intoxilyzer. If an I-5000 breaks a TS can only replace parts. If that doesn’t work, they send it to Austin.
2. Technical supervisors only know an Intoxilyzer is broken if and when the Intoxilyzer tells the TS that it is broken.
To see if an I-5000 is working correctly a TS will ask the I-5000 to perform a self check. If the self check comes back ok, the machine is verified as accurate.
Wait a minute? If a machine is broken or malfunctioning, it may not run a self check correctly?
That’s right. If this was a case other than DWI that would be a problem. However, we let all kinds of phony evidence in on DWI cases.
If an I-5000 does not self report that it is broken, no one knows. Not the TS, the prosecutor, defendant, defense lawyer, or jurors. TSs do not have any way to independently verify that an I-5000 is working properly.
3. TSs can not tell if the self check software is malfunctioning. TSs do not know how the software works.
Actually, it’s worse than that. TSs don’t know how ANY of the I-5000 software works. What formula does the software use to calculate BAC from photons? Ask the company.