Mass. judge rules alcohol breath tests can’t be used in court until agency undergoes reform

BOSTON (WHDH) - A Massachusetts judge has ruled that alcohol breath tests can no longer be used in court until the state agency overseeing how they’re maintained undergoes major reforms.

“Until the office of alcohol testing solves this problem and shows the judge they can get their act together, no police officer is going to be able to use the evidence gathered in court. That’s a problem,” said 7News Legal Analyst Tom Hoopes.

The district court judge found the Office of Alcohol Testing failed to release evidence to lawyers representing people accused of drunk driving…evidence that showed 400 alcohol breath tests were wrong.

The judge found the state agency wasn’t telling the truth about how the tests were maintained and that the courts couldn’t trust their results.

“They hadn’t done the maintenance they hadn’t done the calibration. The training was poor on all of those things, so now what he’s saying is going forward you have to show me you’ve done things correctly, that people are trained to do this correctly,” Hoopes said.

The technical leader of the state agency was fired. Prosecutors have thrown out evidence from thousands of drunk driving cases.

In a statement, a spokesman from the office of public safety tells us:  “The office of alcohol testing is working diligently toward seeking accreditation and intends to submit its application for accreditation within the next 60 days. The office has implemented a number of key reforms over the last year and is confident that following a comprehensive review process, the accrediting body will award full accreditation.”

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