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San Francisco DUI Attorney - Case Law - Judicial Decision - Chambers v. State

Posted on in DUI

Recent Judicial Decisions - Case Law By Board Certified DUI Lawyer Paul Burglin
Chambers v. State
___ S.W.3d ___, 2012 Ark. 407, 2012 WL 5360966 (Ark.)

In this.108 /.105 breath-alcohol test case, defendant objected to the admission into evidence of certificates certifying that the Datamaster was properly certified and calibrated, on the basis that they constituted testimonial hearsay in violation of Melendez-Diaz .

Finding the subject certifications were not created for the purpose of providing evidence against any particular defendant, the Court held they were non-testimonial (citing Commonwealth v. Zeininger , 459 Mass. 775, 947 N.E.2d 1060).

“We agree with the Court of Appeals of Oregon, which concluded that such records `bear a more attenuated relationship to conviction: They support one fact (the accuracy of the machine) that, in turn, supports another fact that can establish guilt (blood alcohol level).’ State v. Bergin , [231 Or.App. 36] at 41, 217 P.3d 1087. Indeed, it appears that the Supreme Court has already acknowledged this attenuation, stating in Melendez-Diaz , supra at 2532 n. 1: Contrary to the dissent’s suggestion…we do not hold, and it is not the case, that anyone whose testimony may be relevant in establishing the chain of custody, authenticity of the sample, or accuracy of the testing device, must appear in person as part of the prosecution’s case…[D]ocuments prepared in the regular course of equipment maintenance may well qualify as nontestimonial records."

“That the records are generalized and performed prospectively in primary aid of the administration of a regulatory program makes all the difference."

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