Director of Communications
Statement from NJSBA President Lynn Fontaine Newsome on Holding in State v. Chun
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ- In a case that addressed the scientific reliability of the Alcotest breath-testing device, on Monday, March 17, the New Jersey Supreme Court rendered its final decision in State v. Chun, holding that subject to certain conditions, the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C evidentiary breath-testing device is scientifically reliable and that its results are admissible in drunk driving prosecutions. The New Jersey State Bar Association was a significant participant as an amicus curiae party, and issues the following statement from NJSBA President Lynn Fontaine Newsome:
“The NJSBA is pleased the Court has adopted the bulk of the Special Master’s report and recommendations in connection with the reliability of the use of the Alcotest 7110 in the prosecution of driving while intoxicated cases in New Jersey.
The NJSBA sought to participate in this matter as an amicus curiae party to advocate for transparency in the use of the machine. In that vein, the NJSBA is pleased the Court has conditioned the reliability of the Alcotest on several factors, including: (1) Each machine must be recalibrated every six months as opposed to the current annual requirement; (2) twelve important foundational documents must be produced in discovery in every DWI case; (3) Alcotest training must be made available by the manufacturer at a reasonable cost in New Jersey to licensed New Jersey attorneys and their experts; (4) the NJSBA must be notified of revisions to the Alcotest with the notification containing specific information about the revisions. We had urged the Court to condition reliability of the machine upon all of these factors because we believed they were important to place all parties on a level playing field in DWI cases.
The NJSBA commends Judge King as the Special Master, for conducting a thorough, comprehensive investigation into the reliability of the machine, and for making thoughtful, reasoned and sensible recommendations. The NJSBA argued in favor of Judge King’s recommendations in the Supreme Court because it believed they were the reasonable result of that fair and open process.
While the NJSBA is disappointed the Court did not adopt all of Judge King’s recommendations, on the whole we believe the Court’s decision will help ensure the fair administration of justice can be accomplished in New Jersey’s DWI cases.”
The New Jersey State Bar Association incorporated in 1899 is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice. Visit the Association’s website at www.njsba.com
- NJSBA –