The Minnesota Supreme Court in State vs. Underdahl, an 18 page ruling handed down on April 30th, 2009, affirmed one district court judge’s order that the source code for the Minnesota Intoxilyzer 5000EN breath testing machine be disclosed by the State of Minnesota in a Minnesota DWI prosecution case, but also ruled that the district court abused its discretion in ordering the State to disclose the source code in a separate Minnesota DUI prosecution case.
In the first case, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that the defense made a sufficient showing that the source code may relate to the defendant’s guilt or innocence in his Minnesota DWI or DUI case, as opposed to the second case where the Court found the defendant did not make such a showing.
Although the Court ruled that the State does have the source code in its possession, it made clear that it’s still within the district court’s broad discretion whether to grant a defendant’s motion requesting disclosure of the source code in a MN DUI case. It further found that the district court, in the first case, did not abuse this discretion in ordering production of the source code, where as the district court in the second DWI case did abuse its discretion by ordering production of the source code where the defendant failed to provide sufficient evidence.
Until now, the vast majority of district court judges in Minnesota have denied defense motions requesting production of the source code in DWI cases. The question now becomes as to what affect this decision will have on these same judges. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that district judges still have broad discretion whether to grant or deny similar motions by Minnesota Criminal Lawyers on behalf of DWI defendants.
At the very least, perhaps the DWI defendant is now given a blue print as to what may be required to make a sufficient showing to obtain an order requiring production of the Minnesota Intoxilyzer 5000EN source code. Also, with this ruling, there seems little doubt that the flood gates may now be open for source code demands. I think the question still remains as to what will be the result of such demands, based on this Minnesota Supreme Court decision.