The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has asked that a judge determine who is the owner of the software inside the state’s alcohol breath-test machines. The answer could determine whether DUI defendants are able to examine the computer code inside the Intoxilyzer 8000 for glitches that my falsely accuse them of driving under the influence.
Police across the state utilized the Intoxilyzer 8000 machines for determining the blood-alcohol content of drivers suspected of DUI, so the machine’s credibility is under constant attack.
The fight over the right of a DUI defendant to examine the software of the Intoxilyzer has already resulted in cases in the Florida counties of Sarasota and Manatee being delayed for several years, including some that were filed in 2004.
Now, defense attorneys throughout the state are arguing that a recently discovered purchase order proves that the state is the owner of the software, meaning that it must be provided to them under public records laws.
However, FDLE says that it does not possess the source code, which it is unable to divulge due to it being a confidential trade secret owner by its manufacture, Kentucky-based CMI Inc.
CMI attorney Jarrod Malone agreed that the contract does not transfer ownership of the software to the state, just the license to use it.
According to Venice defense attorney Robert Harrison, the FDLE suit is a way fro the state to avoid the public records law. The suit, filed in Leon County, Florida on Tuesday, is just the latest litigation over the source code. A federal suit was filed by officials in Minnesota to get CMI to divulge the code.Fines against CMI have now surpassed $2 million after judges in Sarasota and Manatee counties ordered the company to turn over the source code to defense attorneys. CMI has failed to comply and continues to fight the issue in appeals courts.