By J.J. Hensley

ShutterstockHundreds of drunken-driving cases from the past four years could be called into question if a legal effort challenging the accuracy of the Scottsdale Police Department’s blood-testing equipment is successful.

Eleven felony DUI cases in Scottsdale, Ariz., have been consolidated into an ongoing Superior Court evidentiary hearing to examine a single issue: whether a crime-lab technician’s decision to bootstrap old software onto a new blood-testing machine in 2009 — and the faulty results that allegedly arose from that decision — has affected evidence handled by Scottsdale’s crime lab.

The problems date to 2009, when a Scottsdale crime-lab supervisor decided to use software from an old machine on a newer gas chromatographer because lab employees, police and attorneys were used to reading the reports from the old machine, according to court documents.

But by summer 2010, the supervisor determined that the old software was incompatible with the new equipment. The lab stopped printing those reports that summer, and the equipment’s manufacturer, Massachusetts-based PerkinElmer, sent a technician to Scottsdale to try to fix the problem.

The court’s ruling will almost certainly be appealed, regardless of the outcome, but attorneys say it has the potential to change the way forensic evidence is handled and presented to a court in all types of cases.

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Source: AZ Central