It turns out not only are the Philadelphia Police Department’s breathalyzer machines wrong, but so is their math.
District Attorney Seth Williams’ office said Friday that the number of DUI cases affected by bad Breathalyzer machines from September 2009 to November 2010 is actually 2,126 — nearly double the 1,147 cases officials said in March — after a thorough investigation by the DA’s office.
Fortunately for the department, nearly one-third of those cases (667) are not eligible for a retrial either because no one was arrested, a defendant was found not guilty or the case was withdrawn by the prosecutor’s office. Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifeld will continue hearing the retrials on Wednesdays in room 406 of the Criminal Justice Center.
In March, authorities said four of the department’s eight Breathalyzers machines were not correctly calibrated, throwing the readings into question, after a defense attorney asked that the machines be checked. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said the mistake was human error and acknowledged the department “screwed up.”