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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Local briefs

    Breath test accuracy questioned

    Evidence against 19 people accused of driving while drunk in Tucson has been tossed by a judge because of questions about the breath test machines used by police.

    Tucson City Court Judge Margarita Bernal ruled that there are significant questions about the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 8000 machines and software used in Arizona.

    Bernal based Monday’s ruling on testimony in an unrelated Pima County Superior Court case by Toby Hall, president of the company that makes the machines.

    “”The testimony of Mr. Hall clearly raises anomalies, errors and issues which can impact (the machine’s) reliability and credibility,”” Bernal wrote.

    Defense attorneys in cases before Bernal and other judges in Pima County say Owensboro, Ky.-based CMI and the state must provide the source code for the Intoxilyzer 8000 so they can check it for accuracy.

    In recent months, breath tests in more than 100 driving under the influence cases in Tucson City Court have been thrown out after CMI refused to disclose the source code. Many of those cases have been dismissed as a result.

    Pima County Superior Court Judge Deborah Bernini is expected to rule this month on whether the source code should be revealed in 19 other drunken driving cases. At a hearing in July, she indicated she was inclined to order it handed over.

    “”If you asked me to rule from the bench today, it would not be in the state’s favor,”” Bernini said.

    In the ruling Monday, Bernal wrote that the defendants should have the right to examine the machine’s computer codes.

    “”The right to cross examine the evidence against the accused is fundamental,”” Bernal wrote.

    Tucson police use the Intoxilyzer 8000 with software that Hall said has been corrected in current versions.

    “”We are working with city prosecutors to determine whether to continue with the Intoxilyzer 8000 or look at other options,”” said Tucson Police spokesman Officer Chuck Rydzak.

    Attorney James Nesci, who is involved in the cases before Bernini, said DUI defendants are often seens as outcasts and pariahs.

    “”Most people want the defense to roll over and submit to the police tests just because the police say that the machine works,”” Nesci. “”For that reason, this issue has been highly politicized and it should not be.””

    Tucson parents face charges in 6-week-old’s death

    The parents of a starved 6-week-old Tucson girl are facing one count each of first-degree murder and child abuse.

    A Pima County grand jury indicted Terri Sullivan, 26, and Scott D. Sullivan, 27, Monday.

    The couple were arrested Aug. 30.

    Court documents show the mother called 911 after she found baby Kimberly dead.

    Firefighters and police said the baby was extremely malnourished and emaciated.

    According to court documents, the child’s face was sunken in, her skin was loose and she had an indentation in the skull above her forehead.

    The baby also had bones protruding through her skin.

    Authorities say Child Protective Services has taken custody of the Sullivans’ three other children, ages 2, 4, and 6.

    Border Patrol agents rescue migrant from mine

    A spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol says agents have rescued a man who fell into an abandoned mine shaft in southern Arizona.

    Agency spokesman Rob Daniels says agents were patrolling south of Sierra Vista on Monday when they apprehended a group of 14 illegal immigrants.

    The migrants told agents one of their group had fallen down a mine shaft. Daniels says agents and a local search and rescue crew found the mine and pulled the man to safety.

    The man suffered injuries to his legs, neck and back but they weren’t considered life-threatening.

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