Sunday, July 18, 2010

More math lessons from Minnesota

It's one thing to forget to multiply a urine test result by .67 to get the correct alcohol concentration. It's quite another thing not to know that the failure to reduce the test result by 1/3 means the reported result is 50% higher (not 33%). But this is what citizens and attorneys in rural Minnesota are dealing with after the news broke that the crime lab couldn't figure out the actual alcohol concentration of motorists charged with driving while intoxicated.

"We remain committed to providing quality and accurate testing." -- Lt. Steven Johnson, Tri-County Regional Forensic Laboratory

If crime lab personnel can't get the simplest of math right, what gives anyone confidence they can get anything else right? And then there's the added question of why Minnesota is using the least accurate of all measures of alcohol concentration to confirm a breath test result.

What's next? Forced piss tests on No Refusal Weekends?

A special thanks to Minnesota DWI Attorney Chuck Ramsey for the attached memo.


Chuck Ramsay said...

Paul - Yes, Minnesota uses first void testing to determine a specific level of alcohol; and yes a major crime lab bungled the mathematical equation to determine the urine alcohol concentration, but we don't have "no refusal weekends." In Minnesota, it's against the law to refuse DWI testing -- a crime more severe than having an alcohol concentration over the legal limit.

Houston DWI Attorney Paul B. Kennedy, said...

That's nice - making it a criminal offense to exercise your right not to incriminate yourself. Maybe next we can just go ahead and abolish the 4th Amendment.