Minnesota Intoxilyzer 5000 Source Code Update: Ramsey County to Consolidate Cases?

Posted On December 22, 2009 by Charles Ramsay

As the battle of Minnesota's Intoxilyzer 5000 continues with no real end in sight, many metro counties have consolidated their source code cases to conserve state resources, prevent inconsistent rulings and to manage the growing caseload.

The First Judicial District, with its seven counties, has consolidated its cases before one judge and has issued an Intoxilyzer 5000 Source Code case management order along the lines of the federal court's multidistrict litigation rules. Judge Abrams, who teaches complex litigation at the University of Minnesota Law School, has by far done the best job organizing and scheduling the consolidated cases. Other counties have begun formal consolidation of Intoxilyzer 5000 source code cases, including Hennepin, Anoka and Chisago.

Judge Abrams:

When I began writing this blog last month, Ramsey and Washington Counties seemed to be of the only metro-area counties which had yet to consolidate.

Ramsey County's chief judge had written to the Minnesota Supreme Court requesting consolidation on a state wide basis, but the request was denied for procedural reasons.

This week, Minnesota Lawyer reported that Ramsey County has a consolidation plan in place.

Ramsey County is following a kind of hybrid model of consolidation, Ramsey County District Court Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin said. Cases involving challenges to the source code will be assigned to one judge, but only for the purpose of resolving the source code issue. The cases will then be assigned to different judges for trial. Cases not involving source code issues must proceed, she added. ... Gearin said that there are discussions ongoing about multi-county proceedings, but Ramsey doesn't want to wait while those talks run their course.

I have yet to see any orders reflecting this.

Judge Gearin:

The last Ramsey County order I received was before Thanksgiving from Ramsey County Judge Marrinan. The order addresses the timing and sequence of expert review of the breath test machine's software.

The order states:

1. Defendant shall receive access to the source code from CMI pursuant to the instructions and parameters set forth in State v. CMI.

2. Consistent with the Permanent Injunction at Paragraph 3(b) of the above, the Court has executed a Protective Order in this matter, which is attached.

3. Within 90 days after execution of the NDA, Defendant's expert shall report his or her findings to Defendant's counsel, who shall forward a copy to the Court and to counsel for the State within three working days after receipt.

4. The State and CMI shall then have 90 days in which to have their experts review the report of defendant's expert, review the source code, and submit their reports.

5. The State and CMI, shall forward copies of their experts reports to the court and Defendant's counsel within three working days after receipt.

6. Defendant shall appear for a JT in this matter on 7/26/10 at 8:45 am in Maplewood Courtroom A.

Judge Marrinan:

The Second Judicial District includes only Ramsey County. Cities within Ramsey County include:

Arden Hills

Falcon Heights

Gem Lake


Little Canada


Mounds View

New Brighton

North Oaks

North St. Paul



St. Anthony

St. Paul

Vadnais Heights

White Bear Lake

While the Ramsey County order is designed to keep the source code battle moving, it is silent regarding issues that already have arisen. For example, CMI, the Intoxilyzer 5000 manufacturer, continues to thwart the Minnesota source code coalition's experts' review of the software. As a result, we have been unable to begin analyzing the code which will certainly delay our experts' report. What if we are unable to complete the report in the time they required?

Minnesota DWI Defense Blog will continue to update its readers as information becomes available on the Intoxilyzer 5000 Source Code battle.

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