On January 3rd a state appointed special master will begin a series of hearings to determine whether or not a step in the calibration process of Alcotest machines is scientifically necessary for accurate readings. These hearings could have an impact on up to 20,000 cases, some of which have been placed on hold until a decision has been made.
The hearings stem from the discovery that Sgt. Marc Dennis who serviced Alcotest machines throughout the state had been skipping a step in calibration. Dennis had failed to use a thermometer that was certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This test has to be conducted as part of the calibration as set down by the Supreme Court in State v. Chun.
Judge Joseph Lisa Jr. a formerly a presiding appellate division judge will hear from five experts for the state and three experts for the defense when the hearings begin. Once he has a decision Judge Lisa will submit his findings to the NJ Supreme Court.
Some fear the stay may create caseload management problems. It could turn into an especially difficult logjam should the thermometer testing be deemed necessary. That would potentially call into question the results of any breathalyzer serviced by Sgt. Dennis between the years of 2008-2015.
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