Thousands Affected By State’s Failure To Properly Calibrate Breath Testing Instruments
A New Jersey State Police Breath Test Coordinator Instructor, the official responsible for checking calibration of breath testing instruments used for most DWI prosecutions in New Jersey, was indicted this week.
Marc Dennis is accused of official misconduct, false swearing, and records falsification because, according to the New Jersey Attorney General, he failed to perform a required step necessary to assure correct temperature measurements by the Alcotest 7110 MK-III C. The Attorney General estimates that 20, 667 cases in the past seven years in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Union, and Somerset Counties could be affected.
The Attorney General petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court to appoint a special master to consider the issue. The Supreme Court invited John Menzel, among three other attorneys and the New Jersey State Bar Association, to provide guidance on the issue. His comments to the Court are attached.
Individuals potentially affected by this issue would qualify to have their convictions vacated and their cases reopened depending on the facts of their particular cases. Such individuals may begin a process called post-conviction relief [“PCR”], which requires obtaining transcripts of their proceedings in court, police reports concerning their DWI arrest, and swearing to certain facts in a PCR petition.
John Menzel regularly prepares PCR petitions and has taught seminars to other attorneys about how to investigate, evaluate, and apply for PCR. If you believe you may have a claim, contact John.