Saturday, October 10, 2009

State's breath test expert sentenced to a year in prison

Dee Wallace, the disgraced breath test machine technical supervisor, who filed fake maintenance records on the Intoxilyzers under her watch, was sentenced to a year in prison yesterday. It is estimated that some 4,000 DWI convictions in Harris and Galveston counties could be affected by Ms. Wallace's deceit.

While there may be some solace in the fact that Ms. Wallace is reaping her just rewards, those who were victimized by her lies must go through the process of filing writs and obtaining court orders to recover the money they spent on fines, court costs, probation fees and surcharges.

I'm still troubled by how easy it was for Ms. Wallace to manipulate the system as long as she did. The problem is she was the one who got caught. How many other technical supervisors monkey around with their maintenance records? Ms. Wallace got away with it as long as she did because she handled a number of machines in two counties on a contract with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

If it's that easy to manipulate the maintenance records, how hard would it be to manipulate the machine? There's a reason the State of Texas tells CMI not to ship an operator's manual with the machine. There's a reason CMI fought tooth-and-nail to keep from having to turn over the Intoxilyzer's source code.

At the end of the day, can you really believe anything that comes out of that machine?

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