The People of the State of New York are the plaintiffs in the case. The defendant is Leonard DiBari. The case is being heard in Westchester County, Justice City of the Town of North Castle. Judge Elyse Lazansky is overseeing the case.
The defendant, Leonard DiBari, is charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol. During the course of the non-jury trial and pretrial hearings the defense has objected the prosecution’s use of simulator solution certificates and certified calibration records.
During the pretrial and nonjury trial the prosecution has presented documentation related to the “alcotest,” which is a breath instrument that is used to test the blood alcohol level. This particular test was used to test the defendant when he was arrested and charged with driving while ability is impaired by alcohol (DWAI).
The defense challenges these records being admitted to the court. The basis for the argument being made by the defense is that admitting these records without testimony from the analyst who created the records is in violation of the confrontation clause of the United States Constitution or the Crawford/Melendez-
The Court has reserved the decision about the records pending the completion of the People of the State of New York’s case. Both parties were given the opportunity to submit legal documentation to support their position.
Court Discussion and Decision
After reviewing the arguments that have been made by the defendant and the plaintiff, the court is granting permission for the calibration records to be submitted in the case. These records do not violate the Crawford/Melendez-Diaz rule.
It was found by Crawford that the United States Constitution guarantees that a criminal defendant has the right to be confronted with the witnesses that are against them. When this is practically applied it prevents out of court statement from being presented in a case that are testimonial, unless the defendant has been given the opportunity to cross examine the witness.
The records in question in this particular case have been admitted in similar cases that involve drunken driving (DWI) charges for years. When these records are properly authenticated through the New York State business records, they are considered to be evidence. The majority of New York courts find that these documents are non testimonial in nature, which makes them admissible without live testimony.
Both the plaintiffs and defendant have offered different cases to support their cause. However, after carefully reviewing the information the court is refusing to extend the Crawford and Melendez-Diaz argument. The business records that are being challenged in this case are similar to business records that have been admissible in a number of different cases that are very similar to this one. The test that is in question in these documents provides evidence in the case against the defendant. The documents are not considered to be testimonial in nature and there is no need for cross examination of the test.
For these reasons the court finds that the simulator solution and calibration certificates for breath test instruments can be submitted by the prosecution in the case against the defendant. The motion made by the defendant for dismissal of these documents is denied. All parties will appear before the court at a later date for further proceedings regarding this case.
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