The Northwestern District Attorney's Office announced Thursday night that it will temporarily suspend the use of breathalyzer results in pending drunken driving court cases.
In mid-March, several counties, such as Essex, Norfolk, and Middlesex, were notified of possible accuracy problems of some of their breath tests.
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) is now conducting a review of breathalyzer results and procedures across the Commonwealth.
According to Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the Northwestern District Attorney's Office, no OUI cases in the Northwestern District have been identified as possibly being affected by this review. The Northwestern District covers Athol and Franklin and Hampshire counties.
Carey said the Northwestern DA's office made the decision to suspend using breathalyzer results until more information is known about the nature and scope of the issues which prompted EOPSS's review.
“The breathalyzer machine is an indispensable tool in detecting and prosecuting those who jeopardize the lives and safety of the public by driving under the influence of alcohol,” Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said. “However, as prosecutors, we are ethically required to have full faith and confidence in the evidence we present in court."
Essex and Middlesex counties, as well as areas on the Cape, have suspended their breathalyzer use for the time being.
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