Backdoor Breath Testing 5: Court Transcripts

Posted On July 07, 2016 by Jay Adkins

This post is the fifth part of our mutli-part blog series on the inadequacies of all breath tests in Minnesota. We will now provide illustrative examples, through the use of actual court transcripts, on how litigation on these issues have progressed. Essentially, we will now prove what we have been claiming all along: the Minnesota BCA knows breath tests conducted in the state are not valid, reliable and accurate, and will freely admit as much on the witness stand.

As a way of background, we have already told you that all measurements are merely estimates of the true value of the measurand (the thing being measured, i.e. alcohol concentration). Now, here is an excerpt of a transcript form BCA scientist Karen Kierzek admitting that all breaths tests are estimates of the true alcohol concentration.

Because all measurements are estimates, how can we make sure that a test result are valid, reliable, and most importantly, accurate? The answer is known by all, provide the uncertainty of measurement. However, the Minnesota BCA has decided not only to forgo providing the measurement uncertainty, they have elected to not even calculate it, even though they freely admit it can be calculated. In other words, the BCA hasn't done it because no one has made them follow this basic principle of metrology.

Admissions from the BCA do not stop there, and they only become more egregious. As a result of not calculating the measurement uncertainty, the breath test results are not traceable. Although we have already discussed traceability in this series, here is a transcript from Professor Andreas Stoltz from Michigan State University discussing the concept and its importance in the field of metrology. And here are three separate BCA scientists admitting breath test results in Minnesota are not traceable. (Johnson, Edin, and Kierzek)

Because the test results are not traceable, and because the measurement uncertainty is completely unknown, the BCA has had no choice to admit that they do not even know the outer bounds (or "cap|) of the measurement uncertainty. Even worse, they cannot even conclusively say whether the measurement uncertainty could affect the test result as much as + or- .10. Consider the consequences of such an admission: a 0.17 test result, which is an aggravated result of over twice the legal limit (0.16), affected by a negative .10 uncertainty leaves us with a 0.07 test result, below the legal threshold of 0.08.

With all of the inadequacies of the breath test results in this state, it is fair to ask: whose responsibility is it to ensure the breath test results are valid, accurate, and reliable? Well, here is a excerpt of the BCA's answer to that very question. Although it will be patently obvious to you when reading, the BCA is unwilling to fully accept responsibility for the test results. Wonder why ...