Tuesday, August 22, 2006

S.C. Supreme Court hints that failure to keep proper records on breathalyzer could result in suppression of test results

In State v. Landon, the Supreme Court held that the failure to disclose repair and maintenance records for breathalyzer equipment pursuant to a Rule 5 request does not warrant suppression of breath test results absent a showing that such records are material to the defense. The Court did note that information regarding the DataMaster is exclusively within the State's control, and that SLED's failure to provide a detailed record significantly hampers the defendant's ability to show prejudice. Hence, the Court held that once a defendant makes a prima facie showing of prejudice, the burden must shift to the State to prove the defendant was not prejudiced, either by providing records to show the machine was working properly at the time of testing or by some other contemporaneous evidence.

No comments: