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The Michigan Breath Alcohol Testing Scandal: What Really Happened?

Michigan defense attorney William Maze joins me to talk about the dark side of Michigan's breath testing program, and the unscientific closed-door policies of breath test manufacturers.

Scientists hiding results in lab

I spoke with Michigan defense attorney William Maze about the breath alcohol scandal that took place with Michigan’s breath alcohol program.

The scandal involved fraudulent calibration and maintenance of the DataMaster DMT by Intoximeters, Inc. and the Michigan state police.

Our conversation highlights the need for openness and transparency in breath alcohol testing. Current manufacturers of breath alcohol analyzers have a closed-door policy—they won’t let independent scientists review their devices. But science requires openness and free inquiry.

William also shares how the state of Michigan hid electronic evidence about breath tests for over 18 years. The state claimed that their DataMaster didn’t have any electronic records, but in fact, it did.

William provides insights into building a strong defense for DWI cases, emphasizing the significance of analyzing the stop, personal contact phase, field sobriety tests, and forensic tests.

About William Maze:

William Maze is a leading DUI defense attorney in Michigan. With over 27 years of experience, he specializes in DUI defense and has advanced training in the DataMaster breath alcohol analyzer. William is also an adjunct professor at Madonna University, teaching forensic science and expert testimony.

Clips:

The Michigan State Police withheld data about the DataMaster DMT:

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The breath alcohol instrument manufacturer’s closed-door policies are terrible:

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The adversarial relationship with breath alcohol instrument manufacturers:

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Michigan had a problem with field sobriety tests, but through collaborative efforts, they passed statutes requiring substantial compliance with standardized tests.

  2. Breath test manufacturers like Intoximeters and CMI have a closed-door policy with the defense community, hindering transparency and scrutiny.

  3. Michigan experienced a fraudulent calibration and maintenance scandal involving Intoximeters, compromising the accuracy and reliability of breath test results.

  4. Accessing electronic data in breath testing cases is crucial to determine the validity of the tests and potential tampering.

  5. When building a defense for DWI cases, it is essential to consider the legality of the stop, signs of consumption, field sobriety tests, and the validity of forensic tests.

Quotes:

  • "These closed-door policies are absolutely terrible. John [Fusco] never had a problem with any of us in the defense realm." - William Maze

  • "The electronic data does exist. So for about the first 18 or 19 years of practicing DUI defense, I was repeatedly misled by the Michigan State Police." - William Maze

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