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Breath test evidence still on hold as Office of Alcohol Testing Fires Department Head

Massachusetts breath test evidence not being used in Court as the Head of the Office of Alcohol Testing was fired Monday.  Melissa O’Meara, the head of the Massachusetts Office of Alcohol, was fired Monday amid an investigation which uncovered that the office was withholding evidence of breath test machines that were improperly calibrated. The 126 page report cultivated by public safety officials stated that the withholding of such evidence was done intentionally and was not the result of a big mistake.

O’Meara was the technical leader of the Office of Alcohol Testing and had the responsibility of certifying the reliability of the breath tests submitted by defendant’s under arrest for operating under the influence of alcohol. Melissa O’ Meara worked with the Massachusetts State Police for nearly a decade.

The Massachusetts Office of Alcohol Testing oversees all of the states breathalyzer machines. They ensure the machines are up to date, and are, at all times, functioning and calibrated properly. The information that O’Meara was withholding is information that could have been hugely helpful to defense attorney’s and their clients. The report concludes that he Massachusetts OAT “made serious errors in judgement” in regards to handling requests made by defense attorneys in their requests for discovery.

The investigation into the Office of Alcohol Testing and ultimately of Melissa O’Meara was initiated by lawyers representing defendants across the state of Massachusetts; claiming that the OAT was withholding documents that the lawyers were routinely requesting as discovery such as calibration reports and proof of maintenance.  This litigation started in Concord District Court and took over two years.  At DelSignore Law, we joined about 27 cases to the litigation when it began and stayed many other cases during the course of that litigation.  Following the decision by judge Brennan, it was discovered that the OAT did not hand over volumes of discovery.  This was discovered in part due to the Freedom of Information Act requests made by defense expert Thomas Workman.

Public officials have not yet released any reports on how many defendant’s may be affected by the withholding of the evidence. The investigation leaves hundreds of defendant’s who are facing operating under the influence charges in jeopardy, with their cases up in the air. A former-judge has been hired to oversee all of the discovery requests as of now. You can read more about the issues highlighted in the report by safety officials on the Boston Herald website here.

If you were charged with operating under the influence and are questioning how reliable the breath test you took is, contact a DelSignore Law attorney today. We would be happy to explain the breathalyzer test to you and help you understand your case.

For further reading on how to challenge an OUI arrest if you took and failed the breath test, visit our website here.

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