The Arizona Republic reported over the weekend that the Scottsdale Crime lab is in trouble. As a DUI Lawyer who practices in Scottsdale, I have been screaming this for years. The Republic’s piece focused on the Maricopa County Superior Court hearings regarding the admissibility of the blood test results that are coming out of the Scottsdale Lab. In essence, a Superior Court Judge in a felony DUI case is hearing arguments as to whether the lab work in the Scottsdale Crime Lab is so unreliable that the results should be precluded from being brought up in trial, and hence will never be heard by a jury. Despite the fact that whatever ruling that is ultimately handed down by the Superior Court Judge is not technically binding on the Scottsdale City Court Judges (where 95% of all DUI cases are heard), this ruling should shake some things up in the City Court.
As it currently stands in Scottsdale, despite how bad the machines and testing procedures are within the Scottsdale Crime Lab, criminal defense attorneys have, for the most part, been prevented from telling juries during trial about the various problems in the Lab. The Judges were preventing the defense from even mentioning the majority of the problems that had been reported, which are now the subject of these ongoing Hearings in the Superior Court. I expect that in the coming weeks, due to the public outcry in response to the information that has come to light in the Hearings, Judges in the Scottsdale Court will be forced to reassess their previous rulings. It is only fair that jurors are, at the very least, able to hear the evidence about the Lab environment, permitting them to decide for themselves how much weight to give to that evidence.
Issues relating to forensic blood testing are quite complex and scientific. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to consult an attorney about a DUI charge, make sure that they are intimately familiar with the blood alcohol concentration testing preformed in your case. In essence, hire an experienced and forensically capable lawyer