Kaufman’s Broken Intoxilyzer- Self Diagnostics, Repair and Maintenance

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.


3 responses to “Kaufman’s Broken Intoxilyzer- Self Diagnostics, Repair and Maintenance”

  1. Don Foard says:

    The fact that phony evidence is ok for DWI reminds me of the stories about the Bexar County CSCD and their broken drug testing procedure. Actually, they are the rule and not the exception. Robert, if I submit an open records request to the CSCD’s in counties around me asking about their procedure and if they secure MS/GC confirmations on their positives, will they tell me or has this already been declared non-public by the AG? I already know they don’t get the confirmations, but I want to confirm that.

  2. Tony Chapman says:

    Dude you should call up Bean and put him in charge of rewriting all the software! No really if that is the best our law inforcement has then shame on them.

  3. Cody says:

    When I was in the Navy we used spectro-photometers to analyze samples, and I can tell you from extensive experience that not only are they quirky at best, but the same samples could easily give different results every time they were tested. There are WAY too many variables that can skew a spectro analysis, and it’s amazingg to me our legal system puts so much faith in them.

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