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Minnesota Intoxilyzer Source Code Developments Discussed August 8, 2009

August 8, 2009
mscj members hear Jeff Sheridan on source code discovery issues August 8, 2009

mscj members hear Jeff Sheridan on source code discovery issues on August 8, 2009

At the Saturday morning,  August 8, 2009 meeting of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice (mscj), the group discussed actions to be taken to secure and analyze the computer source code for Minnesota’s Intoxilyzer 5000 breath-alcohol machine. 

This was a major milestone, arrived upon due to success the hard fought in the court battles waged by mscj to force the State of Minnesota and the manufacturer of the machine CMI of Kentucky, to finally reveal their jealously guarded, secret source code.

For many years, the State of Minnesota has kept its breath-alcohol machine’s computer software secret – requiring people prosecuted by it to take their black box on blind faith and trust alone.  Now, thanks to years of litigation by mscj members, and mscj as an organization, a Federal Court Order out of Minnesota derived from a court-approved settlement, requires the State and CMI to give up the software to the lawyers and experts working for the people it is prosecuting based upon the machine’s reports.


Of course, it will take more time and more money to get the best experts for the job to go to Kentucky to analyze the machine’s source code, and discover its bugs and flaws.  Will Minnesota and CMI continue to obstruct access to the truth?


The Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice (mscj) has led the way in Minnesota on this issue for years, expending countless hours of volunteer, pro bono lawyer time, as well as tens of thousands of dollars.  The group intends to see it through, and uncover the truth about the machine, though doubtless the cost of this effort will more than equal the cost so far.

Lawyers and legal service sorganizations throughout Minnesota are contacting mscj for guidance, asking to help in the effort and share in the cost and in the results of the  source code defense expert investigation phase.
mscj members discuss source code investigation phase August 8, 2009

mscj members discuss source code investigation phase August 8, 2009

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron Hemsworth permalink
    February 22, 2010 2:26 pm

    Why not let the PBT that an officer takes be admissible in evidence to confirm the Intoxilyzer test? It seems that your group is not interested in making sure the Intoxilyzer 5000 works right but only wanting to discredit it to win DWI cases. I hope you sleep well with the following stats of the MN Dept. of Public Safety! Is the problem with the Intoxilyzer or with drinking and irresponsibility on the part of offenders and greedy lawyers?

    • In 2008, there were 3,938,401 licensed drivers in MN
    • There were 35,794 impaired driving incidents in 2008
    • 40% of violators were repeats
    • 523,891 drivers have a DWI on their record in MN
    • 1 in 8 (12.5%) MN drivers have 1 or more DWIs on their record
    • 1 in 18 (5.6%) have 2 or more
    • 1 in 38 (2.6%) have 3 or more
    • In addition to this, 92,810 non-residents have incurred 1 or more incidents in MN
    • Of the 147,076 Stearns Co residents, 14,169 have a DWI
    • There were 1,067 DWI arrests (961 were convicted) made in Stearns Co in 2008
    • Of the 455 traffic fatalities in MN in 2008, 163 were alcohol related

    • June 3, 2011 8:15 pm

      The “Preliminary (or Portable) Breath Test” machine can be off by as much as 50% even when “working properly.” That may be one reason the Minnesota legislature has made it inadmissible in a criminal DWI trial. How would you like to be on trial with evidence of alcohol concentration double what it really was? And if the machine was not “working properly,” it’s even more inaccurate.

      Why did the the manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer spend so much time and money stonewalling, hiding the truth? Numerous flaws were uncovered as a result of the mscj source code coalition’s effort. The citizens of Minnesota will benefit. The system has been improved. The real problem? An unfair system that targets the innocent and the guilty alike.,

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