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First impression case on mouthpieces as 'foreign substance'

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In a matter of first impression, a portable breath test mouthpiece isn’t a foreign substance that will act to invalidate the results of a blood alcohol content Datamaster chemical breath test, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In State of Indiana v. James G. Lucas, No. 91A05-1003-CR-247, James Lucas argued his Datamaster results were invalid because he was given two portable breath tests within less than 20 minutes after being pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. He argued that the mouthpiece used to administer the portable breath test was a “foreign substance” for purposes of chemical breath test regulations. The trial court granted his motion to suppress.

The procedures for administering a breath test using a B.A.C. Datamaster say a person must not have had any foreign substance in his mouth or respiratory tract within 20 minutes before the time a breath sample is given.

The appellate judges rejected that argument and reversed the motion to suppress. They relied on neighboring provisions within the Datamaster regulations that state if the test displays certain errors after giving a breath sample, the test should be repeated once the green LED light on the instrument is glowing. The 20-minute delay isn’t required, and under these circumstances, the test subject would have had an initial mouthpiece placed in his mouth in less than 20 minutes. This doesn’t invalidate the final result, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik.

If the Datamaster mouthpiece isn’t considered a foreign substance, then the mouthpiece of the PBT shouldn’t be either.

“We acknowledge that PBTs and Datamasters are separate and distinct devices. Moreover, PBTs are less sophisticated than Datamasters and are not subject to certification by the State toxicology department. But PBTs are still recognized as standard breath testing instruments. The Indiana Code expressly sanctions their use by law enforcement and mandates their use in certain circumstances — even in tandem with chemical breath tests. Officer Stinson’s testimony further indicates that customary measures are observed to ensure that PBT mouthpieces are legitimate and uncontaminated,” she wrote.

The case was remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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