Minnesota Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Underdahl II
Court of Appeals' Decision No Longer Precedential Authority
On August 5, 2008, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order granting review of the Minnesota Court of Appeals' decision in State v. Underdahl, 749 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. App. 2008).
In that decision, the Court of Appeals held that when a defendant seeks discovery of computer source code for the breathalizer, a trial court's determination that the source code is discoverable (pursuant to Rule 9.01 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure), must be premised on showing that examination of the Intoxilyzer's software would show defects in its operation or at least would be necessary to determine whether defects exist. In such a ruling, the Court of Appeals drastically limited the availability of this crucial element of a defendant's defense to a trumped up DWI charge, and overturned a trial judge's decision that the source code was relevant and therefore defendants have a constitutional right to access to the source code.
As a result of the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision to review this backward decision of the Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals decision has no precedential value and is no longer binding. Trial Court's are therefore once again free to determine whether the Source Code is relevant to the defense, without regard to the Court of Appeals' restriction.
Charles A. Ramsay
Attorney at Law
CHARLES A. RAMSAY & ASSOCIATES, PLLC
450 Rosedale Towers
1700 West Highway 36
Roseville, MN 55113