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The Champion

November 2010 , Page 48 

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Trial by Numbers

By Ted Vosk

Uncertainty in the Quest For Truth and Justice

“All results for every forensic science method should indicate the uncertainty in the measurements that are made, and studies must be conducted that enable the estimation of those values.”1 

On Aug. 5, 2010, prosecution expert Rod Gullberg was handed a breath alcohol test ticket with the values 0.081 and 0.080 printed on it. Assuming the lab followed proper quality assurance procedures and testing protocols, all parties agreed that these were the results of an accurate and reliable test. Gullberg was then asked, given these results and the fact that this was an accurate and reliable test, could he state beyond a reasonable doubt that this individual’s breath alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeded a 0.080 (the per se limit in the state of Washington). Gullberg responded: “I would have to say yes based on these results here.”

Similar evidence and testimony, concerning a range of forensic measurements, are introduced in cou

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