Secretary Bennett calls breathalyzer controversy “a failure” at Office of Alcohol Testing


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The state may be forced to throw out tens of thousands of drunk driving cases, after the Office of Alcohol Testing allegedly withheld evidence from defense attorneys.

Last week, Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett published a scathing report, accusing the Office of Alcohol testing of intentionally withholding documents from OUI cases. Defense attorneys claim those documents could have proved that breathalyzers were not properly calibrated.

The 22News I-Team went to Boston to see who’s being held accountable for the mishap.

Secretary Bennett told the I-Team, the Office of Alcohol Testing made a huge error in judgment. “There was clearly a failure at the Office of Alcohol Testing.”

District attorneys across the state have stopped using breath tests as evidence in court, and Attorney Joseph Bernard of Springfield told the I-Team, he wants to see all of the affected cases dismissed. “There was a conscious effort not to provide us with documents. There was a conscious effort to deceive, and a conscious effort not to cooperate with a judge’s order.”

Whether the cases will be thrown out remains to be seen, but Secretary Bennett told the I-Team, widespread, systematic changes will take place at the Office of Alcohol Testing. “One of our undersecretaries from public safety is going through there, doing extensive work to inside the Office of Alcohol Testing, and we’re making significant changes to make sure that never happens again.”

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