June 06, 2005

Cheap Cop-Out

Reading through slashdot, this story on drunk drivers caught my eye. Apparently, judges in Seminole County, FL feel that a defendant's right to a fair trial trump the rights of private contractors to their trade secrets. As a result, whenever a defendant has challenged the state with a request for the workings of the breathalyzer, the judge has dismissed the charges.

Now, I must admit that I find the actual dismissals somewhat troubling... especially as I am a big proponent of harsh penalties for the dangerous stupidity of driving while intoxicated. That said, I really agree with the judges on this one. What happens if there are design flaws in this machine? We all know that state beauracracies are much like their federal equivalents in accidentally ignoring large problems for years and failing to look into some very important details while spending years on seemingly unimportant problems. I'm not saying that this is necessarily a reason to toss out all blood intoxication tests, but at the same time, I must always come down on the side that the paramount rights are the rights of the accused... even if this particular implementation does make me slightly uneasy.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at June 6, 2005 09:16 AM | TrackBack