Cincinnati Police suspend use of controversial breathalyzer

Cincinnati police suspend use of controversial breathalyzer
Published: Jul. 11, 2012 at 10:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati police have been ordered to stop using a controversial breathalyzer device called the Intoxilyzer 8000.

The directive comes from Assistant City Solicitor Charlie Rubenstein who says it has nothing to do with the accuracy of the device, but because of lengthy defense motions which he says are clogging up the court system.

"That's not a good use of the city's resources," says Rubenstein.

The accuracy of the device has been called into question not only in Ohio, but in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota and Tennessee.

FOX19 legal analyst and former Hamilton county prosecutor Mike Allen says debate over the device is just heating up.

"Numerous attacks on the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 8000 to the point where police departments aren't using them anymore," he said.

Allen points out the machine has been the subject of numerous defense challenges in drunk driving cases.

"There have been challenges in court that have been upheld not only in this state, but in other states with the accuracy of this machine," said Allen.

Attorney Mark Krumbein says suspending use of the machine is a good idea since even the courts have differing opinions on it.

"We have judge powers here in Hamilton County who has ruled against the machine...and Monday we just heard from the 12th circuit court of appeals and the judges there said the Intoxilyzer 8000 results should stand so we already have a conflict," said Krumbein.

Krumbein says there are other issues with the device.

"The Ohio Department of Health say that the machine should have a calibration test between the two breath tests and the machine is not doing that and attorneys are crying foul because the machine...they feel is not being used properly," he said.

FOX19 reached out to the Ohio Department of Health, which established rules for the machine's use, but no one was available for comment.

The Solicitor's office says police will continue to test suspected drunk drivers using the Intoxilyzer 5000 and field sobriety tests.

Both Allen and Krumbein say the matter could go to the Ohio Supreme Court.

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