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Court: daylight saving time not an issue

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A trial judge shouldn't have suppressed a drunk-driving breath test on grounds that a time change interfered with the prosecution, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today on an issue of first impression.

Deciding on State of Indiana v. Jason Cioch, No. 79S05-0902-CR-00092, justices unanimously found that Tippecanoe Superior Judge Michael Morrissey erred when he suppressed the prosecution's evidence on a traffic infraction and two drunk-driving misdemeanors from the late 2007 incident.

On Nov. 10, 2007, Purdue University Police Department officers stopped Cioch for traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way street and suspected he was driving while intoxicated. Another certified officer used a B.A.C. Datamaster to administer the test, but he noticed the device hadn't been adjusted to reflect the daylight saving time change the previous Sunday. He contacted several other law enforcement agencies but couldn't find a breath test instrument with the correct time. As he couldn't change the time himself, the officer administered the test and one of the other officers noted the time difference in his incident report - both were within three hours of the officers stopping Cioch.

The tests showed his alcohol level was 0.08, but Cioch moved to suppress the results because of the DST difference. The trial judge granted the motion because of the inaccurate time stamp on the breath test printout, finding that prosecutors failed to meet their burden of establishing an adequate foundation for admitting the evidence. The Court of Appeals affirmed in a not-for-publication memorandum opinion in December.

Noting that Indiana courts haven't yet discussed the accuracy of the time stamp relating to test-result reliability, justices turned to caselaw from the Missouri Court of Appeals that held an inaccurate time stamp isn't evidence of a malfunction or faulty finding.

The Cioch case presents nothing to show that the certified breath test administrator did anything wrong or endangered the test reliability, Indiana's justices noted, adding that Cioch's best authority for his position comes from State v. Johanson, 695 N.E.2d 965 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998), where the appellate court affirmed a trial judge's suppression of test results where the machine printed out a blank ticket and the operator wrote all the test information by hand from what he saw on the screen.

"Without reflecting on whether that was adequate ground for suppression, we think the officer's action in this instance, noting a Daylight Savings difference, raises only a de minimus concern about the accuracy of the test results," Chief Justice Randall Shepard wrote. "We hold that the evidence is admissible."

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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