Friday, December 16, 2005

Florida Court Decision: Mysterious Breath-a-lyzer Source Code - Produce or Dismiss DUI

From my (relatively new) home state in Florida, a well-reasoned (disclaimer: imo) District Court of Appeal decision about...discovery production of source code from a breath-alcohol analyzer.

The Wall Street Journal reports that: "The battle is over the source code of breath analyzers made by CMI Group, a closely held maker of breath-alcohol instruments. Defense lawyers have challenged the use of the device and asked to see the original source code that serves as its computer brain, saying their clients have the right to examine the machine that brings evidence against them."

"It seems to us that one should not have privileges and freedom jeopardized by the results of a mystical machine that is immune from discovery," the state's Fifth District Court of Appeal wrote.

It seems, that in this state at least, jurists are brave enough to not heed the admonition: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain..."

The breathless response by the breath-a-lyzer attorney: "It's a trade secret, and like any company they don't just turn over information for the asking," says Allen Holbrooke, outside attorney for CMI.

Well pardner, they also don't deprive a person of his or her rights based on uncorroborated say so. Y'all see, we have this here procedure in the great state of Florida we call dis-cov-er-y. So, Mr. Holbrooke, we didn't merely *ask* for that information...we made a discovery demand...the "please" language is merely a formality.

Next stop: Mystical voting machines? Mystical compliance machines? Oh no. This could out bad code in almost everything fobbed off as perfect. Gadzooks.

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