CA Supreme Court was wrong in DUI case People v. Vangelder
I recently blogged about a CA Supreme Court DUI case, People v. Vangelder, saying that the court’s decision effectively removed a DUI Attorney’s right to challenge the accuracy of DUI breath test results based on individual physiological differences that the machine does not recognize.
Unrebutted scientific evidence shows that breath tests are not always capable of accurately reaching a breath alcohol result. But the Supreme Court ruled such evidence “inadmissable,” because the California legislature has made “findings” that breath tests are reliable and approved for evidential use by the prosecution, and that “a defendant’s expert witness may not invite a jury to nullify that determination.”
Doesn’t this violate constitutional law?
How can a court, based upon a legislative “finding,” prohibit a criminal defendant from saying, “Hey, in my case it didn’t work.” The state of California cannot impede the discovery of truth as to a defendant’s true breath alcohol result.
But the 6th Amendment right was never mentioned by the judges or the defense—which I believe was an unfortunate oversight. The whole thing bothered me, so I wrote a…
Legal motion challenging Vangelder decision
based on the federal, constitutional, Sixth Amendment right to present evidence. Click to read.
As it happens, I recently spoke with a talented attorney who had just argued Vangelder. I asked, “Did the judge ever ask about or mention the Constitutional 6th Amendment right to present evidence?” He said, “No, they didn’t.” I said, “Well, do you think it’s important?” He said, “Absolutely!”
So, what do you think?
Please comment and share.
Peace, Jon Artz