1. #1
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    All Cases Thrown Out

    The arrest of a forensic scientist accused of falsifying records has raised questions about the state's alcohol breath testing program and the validity of test results used against drunken-driving suspects in court.

    Houston resident Deetrice Henderson Wallace was one of 55 technical supervisors across the state certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety to inspect Intoxilyzer machines and download defendants' breath test results for shipment to DPS headquarters in Austin.

    Her arrest last week jeopardized an estimated 2,600 drunken-driving cases filed in the Houston area since 2003, state officials said.

    DPS officials, however, have invalidated all breath tests ever recorded by Intoxilyzers under Wallace's supervision, said Mack Cowan, the DPS scientific director of the Texas Breath Alcohol Testing Program.

    "We can't pinpoint a date where she became unethical," Cowan said. "So that's the way we decided to handle it."

    As a result, breath test results generated by any of Wallace's Intoxilyzers cannot be used as evidence against defendants still facing drunken driving charges, Cowan said.

    People found guilty after submitting to such tests may challenge their convictions, he said.

    Wallace and other technical supervisors play a critical role in the state's effort to crack down on intoxicated drivers. They calibrate and ensure the accuracy of the Intoxilyzers that collect breath samples from drivers as well as repair the equipment, train and supervise the police officers who give the breath tests, and testify in court.

    Some of the supervisors work for DPS or city or county government agencies. Others, such as Wallace, are independent contractors.

    Critics say state oversight of the supervisors' work is lacking, but Cowan said he has full confidence in the program and described Wallace's alleged actions as an anomaly.

    "For us to have this happen is very embarrassing," Cowan said.

    Friendswood Police Chief Bob Wieners — whose police department paid $8,000 a year for Wallace's services — said he questions whether DPS' oversight is adequate.

    "Incidents like this undermine the special trust and confidence the public should have that the procedures are overseen the way they should be," Wieners said.

    Wallace, 45, who also taught robotics at Sharpstown High School and was honored as the 2006 Teacher of the Year by the Education Foundation of Harris County, declined to comment. After her arrest, she was reassigned to off-campus duties.

    She is charged with felony tampering with a governmental record and is out of jail on $2,000 bail.

    "It's my desire Ms. Wallace be accorded the presumption of innocence as the process runs its course," her attorney, George "Mac" Secrest, said Friday, declining further comment.

    Wallace had participated in the state's alcohol breath testing program since 1994 and had private contracts with eight police departments — Friendswood, Pearland, League City, Webster, Seabrook, Galveston, Clute and South Houston — at the time of her arrest. DPS suspended her certification Oct. 23 after an internal audit found she falsely reported inspecting the Intoxilyzer at the South Houston Police Department.

    Wallace admitted to investigators that she had falsified inspection records for both the South Houston and Clute police department Intoxilyzers, a criminal complaint shows.

    Some of the police departments owned the Intoxilyzers under Wallace's supervision, while others borrowed or leased the devices from her, Cowan said. All the machines have been seized and are now at DPS headquarters in Austin.

    DPS does not keep records of how much money technical supervisors earn. But two other supervisors who were self-employed like Wallace estimated their incomes at $50,000 to $100,000 a year.

    "It's considered really poor pay for this kind of work, frankly. For a scientist of this caliber, it's not very high," said chemist Allen McDougall, who owns Bexar Breath Testing in San Antonio and supervises every Intoxilyzer in Bexar County, as well as one in Schertz in nearby Guadalupe County.

    "I don't know what all the independents are making, because some of them only work part-time," McDougall said.

    Houston defense attorney Troy McKinney, who has been critical of the Intoxilyzers' scientific integrity, said the state's inspections are "perfunctory."

    "I think Dee Wallace is just the tip of this iceberg," McKinney said.

    But Cowan said that while there could always be more oversight, he is satisfied with efforts to watch over the technical supervisors' work.

    DPS has changed its procedures to compare more of the supervisors' computer records with hard-copy printouts from the Intoxilyzer, he said.

    "We have checked every other technical supervisor in the state to see if any red flags were brought up. There were not," Cowan said.

    peggy.ohare@chron.com

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...o/6091416.html
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    she deserves jai time IF she is convicted of this. To have it that wide spread and to blantantly lie aboutthe machine, its just uncalled for.

    and to all those that have signed for probation and get a free walking card, there will be a next time if you were guilty.

    I'm sure your
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    What a piece of garbage! To jeopardize all those cases and justice being served and not to mention the costs that will ensue because of this. It would most likely be impossible but they should tack on the bill to her sentence for all of the oncoming mess.

    A lot of time and hard work down the drain.
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    She should be thrown under the jail. The public put their trust and faith in her and she hurt everyone in the end. The cases should be thrown out or retried...we do NOT build this society on dishonesty. She has done great damage.


    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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    Throw her under the jail!!!!

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    Make her ride with the defendants whose cases were dismissed.

    After a fair trial, of course.

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    Our job's hard enough as it is without people such as these "Contractors" providing this "service". We're fortunate in that our operators are sworn officers.

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    heard about this a while ago, what a moron.

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    Edited because I am still learning how to read. Oops!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneralMelchid View Post
    heard about this a while ago, what a moron.
    I posted it before she was charged and arrested.
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
    She should be thrown under the jail. The public put their trust and faith in her and she hurt everyone in the end. The cases should be thrown out or retried...we do NOT build this society on dishonesty. She has done great damage.
    So if a Police Officer was required to calibrate such a machine before doing a test, and did not do so, and lied by signing a form saying they DID calibrate it ?? Should said Police Officer be sent to jail as well ??

    Bill

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    First of all, its an instrument not a machine! Second, Police Officers (Intoxilyzer Operator) don't calibrate the instrument, the instrument conducts a series of internal test to makes sure it is calibrated and ready for use. If not, an error message will be displayed and if the problem is minor such as a solution change then the PO will take care of it but if not the technical supervisor is contacted and he/she will make arrangements to come fix the problem. If an error is found the instrument will not allow a sample to be given.

    Technical Supervisor are usually not active Police Officers.
    Strong Body, Sharp Mind And Good Tactics!

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    Quote Originally Posted by willbird View Post
    So if a Police Officer was required to calibrate such a machine before doing a test, and did not do so, and lied by signing a form saying they DID calibrate it ?? Should said Police Officer be sent to jail as well ??

    Bill
    Probably, or at the very least fired, I suppose it would depend on the severity.

    By not calibrating the test, the police officer would have effectively violated the suspect/victim's civil rights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willbird View Post
    So if a Police Officer was required to calibrate such a machine before doing a test, and did not do so, and lied by signing a form saying they DID calibrate it ?? Should said Police Officer be sent to jail as well ??

    Bill
    Wouldn't that be falsifying records?

    That would be a naughty, naughty thing...and if so, it makes that cop effectively useless.

    After all...every time they get on the stand the officer's credibility is attacked with a documented case of lying...

    Defense counsel's wet dream...minus T&A and B&B...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell_in_CT View Post
    Wouldn't that be falsifying records?

    That would be a naughty, naughty thing...and if so, it makes that cop effectively useless.

    After all...every time they get on the stand the officer's credibility is attacked with a documented case of lying...

    Defense counsel's wet dream...minus T&A and B&B...
    And it would be perjury if they went into court and lied about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willbird View Post
    So if a Police Officer was required to calibrate such a machine before doing a test, and did not do so, and lied by signing a form saying they DID calibrate it ?? Should said Police Officer be sent to jail as well ??

    Bill
    It's an instrument, not a machine. We don't calibrate them and no such form is required by us.


    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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