Colorado Judge: Breath Test Results Tainted by Widespread Fraud
A Colorado judge issued an order barring the use of breath test evidence in cases originating from July 2015 to the present, following a hearing requested by defense attorney Danny Luneau on behalf of a client. Luneau established at the hearing that the calibration records of breath test instruments in the county had been falsified by state employees seeking to support convictions without adhering to required protocols for 18 months.
Similar to North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment issues certificates purporting to establish that the breathalyzer instruments in the state have been properly maintained and calibrated, and those certificates are issued in courts statewide as a foundational requirement for the admissibility of breathalyzer results in DUI/DWI trials. In the case of the Colorado cases, defense counsel discovered that the signature on the calibration certificate belonged to Dr. Laura Gilllim-Ross, who had left her role as director of the state lab in July 2015. From July 2015 into 2017, state employees were forging her signature on the certification records in order to bypass regulatory requirements for the admission of breathalyzer results in criminal trials.
In North Carolina, judges frequently allow the admission of breathalyzer results in DWI trials without proper foundation and without the testimony of any witness with direct knowledge of the breathalyzer machine’s calibration. Defense attorneys acting on behalf of individual clients are often the only line of defense against the type of widespread fraud that Luneau brought to light in Colorado.
Durham DWI lawyer Ben Hiltzheimer is a criminal defense attorney in Durham, North Carolina, who represents individuals charged with DWIs and the full spectrum of misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation at (919) 899-9404.