How Does The Marc Dennis Case Affect Prior DWI Cases In New Jersey?
The cases affected are those where Trooper Marc Denis calibrated the Alcotest machines. They are believed to be in excess of 20,000 tests. Attorneys in the affected cases will be notified and will have the opportunity to challenge the tests and reopen convictions under State v. Gookins. Realistically speaking, many of the cases involve persons who have already served their suspensions and do not have an incentive to re-open their cases. Additionally, many cases can be proven on field sobriety tests.
Which Counties In New Jersey May Be Affected?
Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union Counties.
Will The Courts Be Able To Handle The Influx Of All The Reopened Cases?
The State Police have filed a case, State v. Cassidy, before the Supreme Court, seeking to appoint a special master and be relieved of the requirement to use an NSIT-traceable thermometer when calibrating machines. The Dennis case has echoes of another State Police scandal made public this year. In late December 2015, Kamal Kant Shah, a lab technician at the State Police North Regional Laboratory in Little Falls, was accused of faking a test result in a marijuana case. The disclosure brought some 14,800 cases that involved evidence, which Shah either tested or performed peer review, into question.
A criminal investigation in that case is ongoing. A Superior Court judge was appointed as a special master to consolidate the glut of challenges to criminal convictions in the drug lab case. The state Attorney General’s Office has made a similar request in the Dennis case, which is still pending before the Supreme Court. In the Shah case, authorities re-tested many of the drug samples to confirm they were, in fact, banned substances.
What Steps Should Someone Take If They Believe That They Are Affected And Their DWI Case Should Be Reopened?
Contact a lawyer to review the case. The State Police will likely be required to contact all lawyers that were involved in affected prosecutions.
If the step Trooper Dennis Is Accused Of Skipping Is Not Scientifically Necessary For An Accurate Result, Does That Affect The Charges He Will Face Or The Outcome Of The DWI Cases?
That is absolutely incorrect. The use of an NSIT-traceable thermometer was first suggested by the chief forensic scientist for the State of New Jersey. This is explained in the State Bar’s letter to the Supreme Court. The letter is attached.
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