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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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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