Sunday, June 14, 2009

Source code-printed, hardbound version with full electronic version of the code available at CMI headquarters doesn't make sense to DUI attorneys

The Minnesota Society of Criminal Justice opposes a settlement between the state of Minnesota and the maker of a breathalyzer device, which police widely use to test alcohol levels in suspected DUI drivers. Minnesota is defending a lawsuit for access to the device's code - the state didn't have it.

Instead they asked the device's maker, CMI for the code. CMI declined; it said the code was a trade secret. But under a settlement in the case two weeks ago, CMI agreed to make the code available in Minnesota in a printed, hardbound version. The full electronic version of the code will be available at CMI's headquarters in Kentucky.

The settlement doesn't provide "meaningful" access to the code because CMI doesn't make the electronic version available in Minnesota, only a paper version. The group says "such a copy would be of minimal value and practically useless for analytical purposes."

Minnesota assumed that the breath-testing machine, called the Intoxilyzer 5000, produced accurate blood-alcohol readings. But those facing DUI / DWI convictions based on that machine's results wanted more than an assumption - they wanted actual proof its numbers were reliable. That proof was located in the machine's computer program source code, which analyzes a person's breath for alcohol. Minnesota's Supreme Court ruled a couple of months ago that motorists charged with DWIs have a right to that source code if they can prove it would aid in their drunk driving defense.