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(The Newspaper)   The lab testing your blood sample has 600 good reasons to declare you guilty of drunk driving even if you were sober   (thenewspaper.com) divider line 49
    More: Scary, psychological testing, Fairleigh Dickinson University, crime lab, Radley Balko, miscarriage of justice, forensic sciences, guilty  
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10292 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Sep 2013 at 12:19 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



49 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-09-10 11:26:45 AM  
Allow folks to nject profit motive into the criminal justice system and stand by for a 40lb box...
 
2013-09-10 11:43:16 AM  
So, what's f*cking up your life worth to a crime lab?  $600.00
 
2013-09-10 11:46:31 AM  
It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.
 
2013-09-10 11:52:05 AM  

TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.


In theory, that's a fantastic idea.  In practice though, hell somebody's always going to be making money.  At least in indirect ways.  I live right by a maximum security prison, there are trucks coming in frequently.  Trucks filled with various goods that somebody sold to the PA Dept. of corrections.  Those have to come from somewhere, so somebody pretty much has to be making a profit somewhere.
 
2013-09-10 11:55:26 AM  

nekom: TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.

In theory, that's a fantastic idea.  In practice though, hell somebody's always going to be making money.  At least in indirect ways.  I live right by a maximum security prison, there are trucks coming in frequently.  Trucks filled with various goods that somebody sold to the PA Dept. of corrections.  Those have to come from somewhere, so somebody pretty much has to be making a profit somewhere.


This is different because the individual "crimes" are tied to individual payments.
 
2013-09-10 12:24:26 PM  
Thanks Obama.. you jerk
 
2013-09-10 12:25:25 PM  
The lab should be paid the same amount for each test performed, regardless of the outcome.

And they should be fined in any case where their results are later shown to be inaccurate.
 
2013-09-10 12:26:11 PM  
doyner:
This is different because the individual "crimes" are tied to individual payments.

Fair enough, but those tests still have to be conducted somewhere.  No lab is going to do them for free.  Perhaps the solution is paying top dollar for accuracy instead of positive results, or maybe having 2 or more independent labs verify each test.
 
2013-09-10 12:27:57 PM  

TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.


Don't really have an issue with a lab making money from blood tests, etc. But there should never, ever, EVER be an extra 'bonus' for convictions.
 
2013-09-10 12:27:57 PM  
So scientists will lie to keep income...coming?


Greens have insisted that is unpossible.
 
2013-09-10 12:28:11 PM  
Pay 600 period, and fine the same if found invalid. Paying for positive encourages positives. 

Any elementary school kid could tell you this!
 
2013-09-10 12:29:31 PM  

Cybernetic: The lab should be paid the same amount for each test performed, regardless of the outcome.

And they should be fined in any case where their results are later shown to be inaccurate.


Shown by whom? If their results are wrong, who would point it out? Is there someone out there double-checking their results? I don't think the defense gets a chance to test the sample, do they?
 
2013-09-10 12:30:04 PM  

TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.


Wouldn't that would put most Farker's mothers out of work?
 
2013-09-10 12:32:04 PM  
Just another example of the man pinning us down.  Soon enough everyone will have a conviction of one kind or another and the stigma will be gone.
 
2013-09-10 12:32:44 PM  
You have a right to have a lab of your choosing conduct an independent analysis.  Independent labs get paid solely by the defendant.  And independent labs that produce results that are known to defense attorneys to be good for defendants are the ones that get all of the business.  So obviously those labs have a similar biases built in to that system.

TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.


So you're opposed to paying the people who prosecute criminals? Criminal prosecutors are both 'people' and they work for a 'governmental entity.'  Under your very broad definition, it seems they wouldn't be allowed to get paid for the work they do.

Assuming that you refer only to incentives or bonuses and not a base pay rate or base funding rate, even that is problematic.  The pay of prosecutors is often tied to their conviction rate (which in some cases may actually encourage them to dismiss cases that they are unlikely to be able to win) and the funding of those government agencies, both at the state and federal level, is often tied to the number of convictions for various crimes.  This makes sense.  You would not want to reward a prosecutor or an office that was routinely pursuing (and spending money on ) cases it can't win.  Similarly, the legislature that funds the office wants to be able to influence what crimes the office chooses to prosecute with financial incentives.  On top of all of that, sentences and plea agreements will often contain a 'cost of prosecution' fee that is paid directly to the prosecutors office.

All that said, I think it's better for all concerned if the labs used by the state don't have any incentive to produce a conviction.
 
2013-09-10 12:33:32 PM  
Combine this with the for-profit prisons paying judges for convictions and/or longer sentences, and you've got one hell of a racket.
 
2013-09-10 12:35:25 PM  

Talondel: o you're opposed to paying the people who prosecute criminals? Criminal prosecutors are both 'people' and they work for a 'governmental entity.' Under your very broad definition, it seems they wouldn't be allowed to get paid for the work they do.

Assuming that you refer only to incentives or bonuses and not a base pay rate or base funding rate, even that is problematic. The pay of prosecutors is often tied to their conviction rate (which in some cases may actually encourage them to dismiss cases that they are unlikely to be able to win


Except this has also led to them *PURPOSEFULLY WITHHOLDING EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE*, and pursuing innocent people because it WAS a case they felt they COULD win.
 
2013-09-10 12:36:17 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: Cybernetic: The lab should be paid the same amount for each test performed, regardless of the outcome.

And they should be fined in any case where their results are later shown to be inaccurate.

Shown by whom? If their results are wrong, who would point it out? Is there someone out there double-checking their results? I don't think the defense gets a chance to test the sample, do they?


Well, if you read the farking article you would have a couple examples.

What also needs to be done is provide the opportunity for an independent facility selected by the accused to test the samples. Privatizing the labs won't solve the problem, they still will know who their major customer is and hiring a private attorney will do absolutely nothing.
 
2013-09-10 12:38:21 PM  
Pub£i¢ $aƒ€t¥
 
2013-09-10 12:40:03 PM  
Biased lab tests.  Red light cameras (usually at intersections where the timings have been tampered with).  I cannot wait for the next revelation of my value to my community.

Cue Lucky McDuck.  Can't get a DUI conviction or red light fine as he does not have a car.
 
2013-09-10 12:41:14 PM  

TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.


Not according to corporate America.
 
2013-09-10 12:41:35 PM  
When there is a reward for a guilty result, a lab technician will not double-check test results that are in the guilty range, though he would be more likely to double-check results that show innocence. The same effects do not work in favor of the defense, which usually depends solely on the forensic report produced by the prosecution.

I get it and think it's a loophole, but how would that work?  Is Saul going to show up to lock-up with a breathalyzer of his own?
 
2013-09-10 01:00:50 PM  

K3rmy: Biased lab tests.  Red light cameras (usually at intersections where the timings have been tampered with).  I cannot wait for the next revelation of my value to my community.

Cue Lucky McDuck.  Can't get a DUI conviction or red light fine as he does not have a car.


You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk, or Public Intoxication when you're walking.
 
2013-09-10 01:05:48 PM  
Wait, are you telling me that DUI laws have evolved from actually keeping people safe to some form of revenue?

hereismyshockedface.jpeg

It is a revenue stream plain and simple. It has also resulted in ruining alot of peoples lives.

Before you jump on me let me explain.

When MADD first came about and forced lawmakers to crack down on drunk drivers it was warrented.I can understand busting people way to drunk to safely operate any 1-2 ton death machine. However it got way out of hand. Once the folks in power figured out it can make so much money they started to go after anyone and everyone in the name of safety.

How are DUI checkpoints legal? I mean you can obviously tell when someone is driving erratically. Go after them I encourage it. But don't stop and test everyone on a road in hopes of catching someone who had 2-3 drinks after work to unwind.

It went from "get the dangerous folks off the road" to "how can we make more money from this?".

Why are we not arrested for prescriptions that can be far worse than 2 drinks?
 
2013-09-10 01:05:54 PM  
give me doughnuts:
You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk, or Public Intoxication when you're walking.

Reminds me of a guy who used to live in town.  He'd ride his bicycle out to the bar and back.  One time he fell over, and he kept on moving his feet trying to pedal the thing on the ground sideways.  At least on a bicycle you're MOSTLY only a menace to your own fool self.  I suppose you could strike and injure someone but it's unlikely you'd kill anyone else.
 
2013-09-10 01:06:36 PM  
Always opt for the blood test. If they swab you with alcohol before taking the blood, you're home free. If not, at least it will give you an hour to try and sober up.
 
2013-09-10 01:06:59 PM  

give me doughnuts: K3rmy: Biased lab tests.  Red light cameras (usually at intersections where the timings have been tampered with).  I cannot wait for the next revelation of my value to my community.

Cue Lucky McDuck.  Can't get a DUI conviction or red light fine as he does not have a car.

You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk, or Public Intoxication when you're walking.


You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk,

Yes

or Public Intoxication when you're walking.

Wtf? Source?
 
2013-09-10 01:09:15 PM  
CASH!Is there anything it can't do?
 
2013-09-10 01:09:26 PM  

iamepic: give me doughnuts: K3rmy: Biased lab tests.  Red light cameras (usually at intersections where the timings have been tampered with).  I cannot wait for the next revelation of my value to my community.

Cue Lucky McDuck.  Can't get a DUI conviction or red light fine as he does not have a car.

You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk, or Public Intoxication when you're walking.

You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk,

Yes

or Public Intoxication when you're walking.

Wtf? Source?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_intoxication#State_public_intoxi ca tion_laws_today
 
2013-09-10 01:10:13 PM  
Thank your lucky stars that you're only at the mercy of a greedy lab technician and not a Farker who would simply drag your ass behind the chemical shed.

Evidence be damned.
 
2013-09-10 01:38:51 PM  
yeah mofo that stuff stays in ur system for quite some time even if u blow 0s its still in there man.. esp if u really go on a binger u kno what i mean? if ur a regular 'alcohol drinker' then ur gonna pretty much stay drunk u gotta really be off the stuff
 
2013-09-10 01:40:31 PM  
They took the original message and twisted it into a revenue stream.

They keep changing the charge in order to net the most people. What started out as a movement to get the drunks from driving death machines off the road to something that can encapsulate the social drinker doing just about anything.
 
2013-09-10 01:52:37 PM  

Cybernetic: The lab should be paid the same amount for each test performed, regardless of the outcome.

And they should be fined prosecuted in any case where their results are later shown to be inaccurate.


FTFM.
 
2013-09-10 02:07:10 PM  
This makes me very angry and a little sick to my stomach.
 
2013-09-10 02:16:15 PM  

Talondel: You have a right to have a lab of your choosing conduct an independent analysis.


True of blood, but not true of breathalyzer evidence. The breath sample could easily be preserved with an advanced technology known as a balloon. The Supremes said in the Trombetta case, "Nah, don't bother."

Because, you know, those judges don't get their paycheck from finding people not guilty.
 
2013-09-10 02:22:42 PM  

megarian: This makes me very angry and a little sick to my stomach.


It's ok.  You can always goto Kenya.  But not Norway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbYtASAakAI
 
2013-09-10 02:26:29 PM  

sawzallz: They took the original message and twisted it into a revenue stream.

They keep changing the charge in order to net the most people. What started out as a movement to get the drunks from driving death machines off the road to something that can encapsulate the social drinker doing just about anything.


And the worst part seems to be that it's incredibly difficult to prove your innocence. Even assuming you can beat it at trial, you've already served your 3 month suspension. If you go to trial, you forfeit the ability to enter a diversion program.

But, people can't decouple a bad behavior that should be discouraged (drunk driving) from a horribly unjust system (DUI busts and prosecution). I can't really think of any other crimes that potentially carry jail time that are so completely twisted into "guilty until proven innocent."

I'm going to be labeled as a DUI enthusiast, but Fark is full of people who can't get beyond a snap judgement. Drunk driving is horrible, but we are doing horrible things in the name of prevention.
 
2013-09-10 02:32:09 PM  
stewbert:
But, people can't decouple a bad behavior that should be discouraged (drunk driving) from a horribly unjust system (DUI busts and prosecution). I can't really think of any other crimes that potentially carry jail time that are so completely twisted into "guilty until proven innocent."

So much THIS.  We lost two co-workers to drunk drivers.  Well, one WAS the driver and thankfully didn't hurt anyone else, the other was on his way home from work, a drunk crossed the center line and hit him head on.  Let me assure you, he was NOT just leaving dinner after having had a beer or two, he was shiatfaced.  He fell out of his truck (not a scratch on him, btw) and even asked the cop "did I hit something?"  I can't imagine how horrible it must have been to try to explain to his two young children that daddy wasn't coming home again :(

Drunk driving IS a serious problem, but we have to be rational about tackling it.
 
2013-09-10 02:56:52 PM  

Talondel: You have a right to have a lab of your choosing conduct an independent analysis.  Independent labs get paid solely by the defendant.  And independent labs that produce results that are known to defense attorneys to be good for defendants are the ones that get all of the business.  So obviously those labs have a similar biases built in to that system.

TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.

So you're opposed to paying the people who prosecute criminals? Criminal prosecutors are both 'people' and they work for a 'governmental entity.'  Under your very broad definition, it seems they wouldn't be allowed to get paid for the work they do.

Assuming that you refer only to incentives or bonuses and not a base pay rate or base funding rate, even that is problematic.  The pay of prosecutors is often tied to their conviction rate (which in some cases may actually encourage them to dismiss cases that they are unlikely to be able to win) and the funding of those government agencies, both at the state and federal level, is often tied to the number of convictions for various crimes.  This makes sense.  You would not want to reward a prosecutor or an office that was routinely pursuing (and spending money on ) cases it can't win.  Similarly, the legislature that funds the office wants to be able to influence what crimes the office chooses to prosecute with financial incentives.  On top of all of that, sentences and plea agreements will often contain a 'cost of prosecution' fee that is paid directly to the prosecutors office.

All that said, I think it's better for all concerned if the labs used by the state don't have any incentive to produce a conviction.


If there is any bias in the system it should be in favour of the defendant. That was the basis of the court system, "better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent be convicted" and all that.

And the defendant testing the sample relies on the defendant having the money to pay for the sample to be tested. They should automatically have a test provided at a facility of their choice.
 
2013-09-10 03:05:05 PM  
From TFA:     The primary problem, according to the paper, is that fourteen states reward crime labs with a bonus for each conviction they generate. North Carolina pays a $600 bounty "upon conviction" to the law enforcement agency whose lab "tested for the presence of alcohol." These incentives do not necessarily encourage scientists to lie, rather they tend to create an observation bias when measuring, for example, a blood specimen for its blood alcohol content .

Observation bias?  Nope.  Let's just call it what it is... lying.
 
2013-09-10 03:31:12 PM  

TheOnion: It should be illegal for any person, business entity, or governmental entity to profit in any way from the commission of a crime.


This.  Which includes the use of fines as punishment.

The only case I can see for making someone pay money is to seize the ill-gotten gains of crime.

nekom: Fair enough, but those tests still have to be conducted somewhere. No lab is going to do them for free. Perhaps the solution is paying top dollar for accuracy instead of positive results, or maybe having 2 or more independent labs verify each test.


The problem isn't paying them for doing the test, it's them getting money for a conviction.

BEER_ME_in_CT: Always opt for the blood test. If they swab you with alcohol before taking the blood, you're home free. If not, at least it will give you an hour to try and sober up.


Always do it anyway, the breathalyzer is *INHERENTLY* flawed as the ratio of breath alcohol to blood alcohol varies from person to person.

stewbert: But, people can't decouple a bad behavior that should be discouraged (drunk driving) from a horribly unjust system (DUI busts and prosecution). I can't really think of any other crimes that potentially carry jail time that are so completely twisted into "guilty until proven innocent."


Another vote for this.  I'm all for nailing the drunk driver but you better be sure he really was a drunk driver.
 
2013-09-10 03:47:18 PM  

stewbert: I'm going to be labeled as a DUI enthusiast, but Fark is full of people who can't get beyond a snap judgement. Drunk driving is horrible, but we are doing horrible things in the name of prevention.


I'm going to agree here.  Yes, drunk driving is bad, but ultimately it's no different than many other forms of negligent behavior of various levels.

What I've heard of how they set the systems up strikes me as less of a way of ensuring justice as it is ensuring smooth flow of the process with minimal allowances that the accused might actually be innocent.  Add a dash of corruption and you get the same problem as with red light cameras.

dywed88: And the defendant testing the sample relies on the defendant having the money to pay for the sample to be tested. They should automatically have a test provided at a facility of their choice.


I'm not a lawyer, but I'd think that as a defense lawyer I'd love to be able to haul in a technician or accountant from the testing company and have them explain the conviction bonus they get.  Depending on how I set the jury up* that would be better than having a competing test.

Of course, a lawyer good enough to do that likely means you can afford to have an independent test anyways.

*Go for somebody who's likely been burned by somebody with incentive to do so.  Cynics of a certain bent, etc...
 
2013-09-10 04:07:19 PM  
"These incentives do not necessarily encourage scientists to lie, rather they tend to create an observation bias when measuring,"

Scientists? WHAT scientists?? It's a lab, not a research institute!
 
2013-09-10 04:16:03 PM  

FritzTrotsky: "These incentives do not necessarily encourage scientists to lie, rather they tend to create an observation bias when measuring,"

Scientists? WHAT scientists?? It's a lab, not a research institute!


True enough. Likely lab technicians
 
2013-09-10 04:22:24 PM  

FritzTrotsky: "These incentives do not necessarily encourage scientists to lie, rather they tend to create an observation bias when measuring,"

Scientists? WHAT scientists?? It's a lab, not a research institute!


Exactly, they are putting it through an analyzer and disseminating the results. It is not a research project open to interpretation.
 
2013-09-10 04:25:45 PM  

Cybernetic: The lab should be paid the same amount for each test performed, regardless of the outcome.

And they should be fined in any case where their results are later shown to be inaccurate.


Yep.  Anything else = reasonable doubt.
 
2013-09-10 04:51:41 PM  
Now will you motherfarkers start listening when I say the only way to combat fraud is to kill the people involved.  Start with the CEO of the company and work your way down till you find the bastard that ordered the fraud.  You know damned well the next batch of execs will work their asses off to make sure they won't die because of fraud.
 
2013-09-10 05:18:32 PM  

iamepic: give me doughnuts: K3rmy: Biased lab tests.  Red light cameras (usually at intersections where the timings have been tampered with).  I cannot wait for the next revelation of my value to my community.

Cue Lucky McDuck.  Can't get a DUI conviction or red light fine as he does not have a car.

You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk, or Public Intoxication when you're walking.

You can get a DUI for riding a horse or bicycle while drunk,

Yes

or Public Intoxication when you're walking.

Wtf? Source?


My downstairs neighbor took my ten-speed bike without asking, and pedaled down to the bar. He was arrested for DWI for riding it back, and my bike was impounded. It was an old bike but impound demanded a receipt before they'd give it back, which I didn't have - had everything else including a detailed description, but no go. It took eight months of leaving that detailed description on their answering machine a few days a week before they finally decided it wasn't worth it, and they made sure to rip off some cables before signing it over.
 
2013-09-10 05:24:39 PM  

sawzallz: Wait, are you telling me that DUI laws have evolved from actually keeping people safe to some form of revenue?

hereismyshockedface.jpeg

It is a revenue stream plain and simple. It has also resulted in ruining alot of peoples lives.

Before you jump on me let me explain.

When MADD first came about and forced lawmakers to crack down on drunk drivers it was warrented.I can understand busting people way to drunk to safely operate any 1-2 ton death machine. However it got way out of hand. Once the folks in power figured out it can make so much money they started to go after anyone and everyone in the name of safety.

How are DUI checkpoints legal? I mean you can obviously tell when someone is driving erratically. Go after them I encourage it. But don't stop and test everyone on a road in hopes of catching someone who had 2-3 drinks after work to unwind.

It went from "get the dangerous folks off the road" to "how can we make more money from this?".

Why are we not arrested for prescriptions that can be far worse than 2 drinks?


To be fair, some areas do arrest people for being under the effects of certain medications and illegal drugs, known to impair one's reaction time or ability to operate a vehicle.  This is usually only reserved for people who are very obviously farked up, or for drugs for which there is a simple roadside test for.  Simple roadside tests are hard to get right though, and every time someone gets 'removed from the road and banned from driving ever again' and sues because it turns out they were simply taking an antacid that caused the test to be inaccurate, the prospect of DUI's for drugs gets a little harder to prosecute.

Basically, alcohol DUI's are cheap and easy to prove.  Literally all you have to do is show some impairment (ANY impairment or evidence thereof) and that they have a measurable alcohol level (even .001%, when .08% is considered failing) and they have a nonzero chance of having their life farked up.  This is remarkably easy to do, but thankfully lawyers are wise to it.  A "I'm a police officer and I swear that they were slurring their speech, had bloodshot eyes, and were swaying in their seat" is good enough to fark your life up if you don't have a lawyer.

So it's a money thing.  Is that person farked up on Xanax?  Who knows?  Did they not get enough sleep or do they have a cold?  Who cares?  Did they have a sip of beer?  Get that drunk maniac off the road before they kill three busloads full of nuns!
 
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