Two technicians accused of falsifying documents that certified the accuracy of breathalyzer devices in Michigan were charged with multiple felony counts on Thursday.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel alleges Andrew Clark and David John, of Intoximeter Inc., created fictitious documents to falsely suggest they tested and repaired two Datamaster DMT breathalyzers to ensure they were accurate. The breathalyzers were used by the Beverly Hills Police Department and the Alpena County Sheriff’s Office.
In January, state police notified law-enforcement officers across the state to stop using more than 200 breathalyzers from longtime vendor Intoximeters. Investigators at the time said they suspected fraud after finding discrepancies in paperwork.
Stopping the use of the breathalyzers "is an absolutely necessary move to safeguard the integrity of the criminal justice process," Michigan State Police Director Col. Joseph Gasper said in a news release in January, adding, “I am no longer comfortable having police agencies using these instruments until we can be confident they are certified, calibrated and serviced according to state law and industry standard.”
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the potentially flawed breathalyzers have prompted authorities to dismiss charges against people arrested for drunken driving.
On Friday, Gasper said state police conducted a “complete and thorough investigation.”
“We recognize the critical role these instruments can play in drunk driving convictions and we are confident that a properly calibrated and maintained DataMaster remains an extremely reliable instrument,” Gasper said in Friday's news release.
Clark, of Eaton County, has been charged with two counts each of forgery of a public record, uttering and publishing, and use of a computer to commit a crime. John, of Kalamazoo County, was charged with three counts of each charge. Both face up to 14 years in prison.
“Those who hold positions of trust and responsibility at any level within our overall system of justice must be held to a high standard,” Nessel says in a news release. “When that trust is betrayed, it is incumbent upon my department to ensure accountability on behalf of the people of our state. I’m grateful for the Michigan State Police’s assistance in this investigation, and I know that the MSP and my Public Integrity Unit have handled this matter appropriately and in the public’s best interest.”
The state ended its contract with Intoximeter in April.
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.