The Source Code Shuffle - How the District Courts Are Handling the Intoxilyzer 5000 Appeal.

Posted On July 12, 2011 by Daniel Koewler

Currently, the consolidated source code litigation, originally presided over by Judge Abrams, is up on appeal before the Minnesota Supreme Court. This has caused more than a little confusion in the various district courts, as each judicial district tries to decide how to proceed with DWI cases based on Intoxilyzer 5000EN breath test results.

Most counties seem to be of the opinion that they need to stay all proceedings pending a final decision by our Supreme Court. In our opinion, this is not only the smart option, but the only legal one. Minnesota Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure 108.01, subd. 2 makes it clear that our lower courts are prohibited from doing anything to affect the current source code appeal - which includes setting cases on for trial (cases that could then be "re-appealed| and effectively double the judicial system's workload).

While most counties have followed this route, there are some exceptions - notably Anoka and Ramsey counties. In Anoka County, all of the previously stayed cases were returned to active judicial calendars after Judge Abrams issued his order. However, after the Minnesota Court of Appeals granted review of that order and the Supreme Court granted expedited review, Anoka County chose to reverse course - and continued to stay all Intoxilyzer breath test cases.

Ramsey County, on the other hand, who also originally stayed all of its Intoxilyzer cases, recently issued an order lifting that stay and ordering all cases to proceed. In light of Rule 108.01 and the currently pending motion to stay proceedings pending in front of the Supreme Court, it is unclear how much progress will be made on these cases . . . but as of today, every pending Intoxilyzer case is being pushed back on to Ramsey County judicial calendars.

It will be interesting to see how the situation in Ramsey County progresses. Maybe Ramsey County will reverse course in the same way that Anoka did (the coalition emailed the Ramsey County Court objecting to the new order). Or maybe Ramsey County will set hundreds of cases for trial, only to be ordered by the Supreme Court to cancel everything and wait for the conclusion of the appeal. Only time will tell, but for now, defendants and attorneys with Ramsey County DWI cases should be prepared to resume their cases while the final determination of whether Intoxilyzer test results are admissible is still up in the air.