Police DUI Experts Instructed to Commit Perjury
Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog
A key witness in most DUI trials is the prosecution's crime lab blood-alcohol expert, often called a forensic toxicologist. He will explain to the jury what the breath or blood test results were and what they mean; what the probable blood-alcohol level was when the defendant was driving; and that the breathalyzer was properly maintained, calibrated and in proper working order at the time of the test. To say the least, the honesty and accuracy of this expert's testimony under oath is critical to the outcome of the trial.
Unfortunately, this witness is often less than honest and objective in his testimony. As a law enforcement employee, he sees his job as helping the prosecutor to secure a conviction -- and commonly tailors his testimony accordingly.
The same is true of phlebotomists (technicians who draw a blood from the suspect) who testify as to the procedures used for drawing the blood, identification of the blood sample, etc. The expertise and honesty of this witness is equally critical in a DUI trial.
The following is a complete and verbatum (emphasis in the original) copy of a set of instructions given by the San Diego Police Department to their blood-alcohol technicians testifying in a drunk driving trial (presumably, a different script exists for toxicologists):
You will be asked your name.
You do not have to remember drawing [blood from] the particular defendant. Just say you draw many patients each day you work and it is impossible to remember each one.
You may be asked how you draw the blood. It is the standard procedure you follow for ALL blood draws, EXCEPT that you use a NON-ALCOHOLIC antiseptic wipe (Benzalkolium) to cleanse the phlebotomy site. You ALWAYS