A stunning revelation has cast serious doubt on thousands of DUI convictions in Colorado. A former lab technician with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Enviroment says someone forged his signature on more than 100 DUI breath test records in 2013.
The Intoxilyzer 9000
Colorado police use the Intoxilyzer 9000 to administer breath tests on drivers arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving. The Department of Public Health and Environment then validates and certifies those test results. This process is supposed to make those tests strong evidence against the driver. The agency is also responsible for calibrating the 200 Intoxilyzer 9000s in use in Colorado police stations to ensure accurate readings.
Did Colorado set up the machines properly?
But according to The Denver Post, it appears the agency cut corners in its rush to install the machines in 2013. The former lab tech, an electronics specialist, says that he and another tech set up around two dozen of the machines. But a superior told others in the department to use the lab tech's passcode and name to set up the rest of the machines, the tech says.
The lab tech says he objected to the practice but was overruled. A defense attorney says that she and others have discovered about 130 certificates for Intoxilyzer 9000s with forged signatures.
More forgery accusations
This accusation recalls a case from 2015 in which breath test machine certifications were found to have the "signature" of the former state health department lab director, who no longer worked at the agency and was never responsible for certifying DUI test machines.
Never give up on a criminal case
If even one person was wrongfully convicted of DUI because of a bad breath test, it is vital that these potential shortcuts be investigated. Often, a seemingly clear-cut case against a criminal defendant is anything but, whether due to procedural mistakes, missing evidence or other reasons.