Posts tagged "1009615"

Commonwealth v. Camblin (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-096-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-11774   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  KIRK P. CAMBLIN.       Middlesex.     February 5, 2015. – June 12, 2015. Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Motor Vehicle, Operating under the influence.  Evidence, Breathalyzer test, Scientific test.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Ayer Division of the District Court Department on April 28, 2008.   A pretrial motion to exclude evidence as scientifically unreliable was considered by Mark A. Sullivan, J., and a motion for reconsideration was considered by him; and the case was tried before Peter J. Kilmartin, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     John Fennel for the defendant. Jamie Michael Charles, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Evan M. Levow, of New Jersey, & Gregory D. Oberhauser, for DUI Defense Lawyers Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     BOTSFORD, J.  In 2013, the defendant, Kirk P. Camblin, was convicted in the District Court of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor (OUI) on theories that alcohol affected his ability to drive safely and that he operated the vehicle with a blood alcohol percentage of 0.08 or greater.[1]  Before trial, he, along with sixty-one other defendants in other OUI cases pending in the District Court, moved to exclude admission of breath test evidence derived from the use of a particular model of breathalyzer, the Alcotest 7110 MK III-C (Alcotest), on the basis that errors in the Alcotest’s source code as well as other deficiencies rendered the breath test results produced by the Alcotest unreliable.  The judge specially assigned to these cases denied the motion without a hearing, evidentiary or otherwise.  We conclude that because breath test evidence, at its core, is scientific evidence, the reliability of the Alcotest breath test result had to be established before evidence of it could be admitted, see Commonwealth v. Lanigan, 419 Mass. 15, 25-26 (1994), and, in this case, a hearing on and substantive consideration of the defendant’s challenges to that reliability were required.  Because no such hearing was held and the Alcotest breath test result of 0.16 was before the jury as evidence, we vacate the judge’s order denying the motion to exclude the breathalyzer evidence, remand the case to the District Court for a hearing on that motion, and retain jurisdiction […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm

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