The End of Source Code Litigation?

On June 27, 2012, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued its long-awaited ruling on the “source code” issue.  The ultimate question before the Court was whether human readable instructions for the computer or “source code” affected the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 5000EN.

This case began in 2006 when Dale Underdahl filed a motion requesting the complete computer source code for the Intoxilyzer 5000EN.  His request was granted, but the Commissioner of Public Safety appealed this ruling.   After years of litigation and a hard-fought battle, the court of appeals upheld the release of the source code and the company that makes the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, CMI Inc. agreed to release it.

Due to the overwhelming request for the source code and the complexity of the litigation the case was assigned to a single judge to hear the case, Judge Jerome Abrams.  A hearing was held to determine the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 5000EN.  The hearing began on December 8, 2010 and concluded December 23, 2010.  Judge Abrams ruled that the source code, although it may have some problems did not rise to the level to suppress the results.  A request by all parties was filed requesting accelerated review of the ruling.  The Minnesota Supreme Court agreed and heard the case in December 2011.

The 4-3 ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court upholding Judge Abrams’ order will put approximately 4,000 cases back to the district court’s calendar after being placed on hold during the six years of litigation.  Although this does not end litigation regarding the Intoxilyzer 5000EN it does end the source code argument.

What is next for the Intoxilyzer 5000EN?  Due to the ongoing litigation the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, age, and problems associated with it, the device is in the process of being replaced.  Most of Southern Minnesota has put in place the DataMaster (which has its own problems) since early 2012.

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