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The Courts

MN Supreme Court Backs Reasoned Requests For Breathalyzer Source Code 199

viralMeme writes with news that the Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld the right of drunk-driving defendants to request the source code for the breathalyzer machines used as evidence against them, but only when the defendant provides sufficient arguments to suggest that a review of the code may have an impact on the case. In short: no fishing expeditions. The ruling involves two such requests (PDF), one of which we've been covering for some time. In that case, the defendant, Dale Underdahl simply argued that to challenge the validity of the charges, he had to "go after the testing method itself." The Supreme Court says this was not sufficient. Meanwhile, the other defendant, Timothy Brunner, "submitted a memorandum and nine exhibits to support his request for the source code," which included testimony from a computer science professor about the usefulness of source code in finding voting machine defects, and a report about a similar case in New Jersey where defects were found in the breathalyzer's source code. This was enough for the Supreme Court to acknowledge that an examination of the code could "relate to Brunner's guilt or innocence."

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