Judge says no to closed source

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon Jun 06 2005 - 09:27:41 CDT

Here's an interesting set of court decision in which multiple cases
were lost by the state because they used machines with closed source
software.

"Florida cannot contract away the statutory rights of its citizens,''
the judge wrote.

Voting machines? Nope. Breathalyzer.

It's not a universal opinion however Judges in other counties have
said the opposite: The state cannot turn over something it does not
possess, and the manufacturer should not have to turn over trade
secrets.


Jun 5, 2005

DUI Defendants Skip Charge By Asking How Test Works

SANFORD - Hundreds of cases involving breath-alcohol tests have been
thrown out by Seminole County judges in the past five months because
the test's manufacturer will not disclose how the machines work.
All four of Seminole County's criminal judges have been using a
standard that if a DUI defendant asks for a key piece of information
about how the machine works - its software source code, for instance
- and the state cannot provide it, the breath test is rejected, the
Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.
Prosecutors have said they do not know how many drunken drivers have
been acquitted as a result. But Gino Feliciani, the misdemeanor
division chief in the Seminole County State Attorney's Office, said
the conviction rate has dropped to 50 percent or less.
Seminole judges have been following the lead of county Judge Donald
Marblestone, who in January ruled that although the information may
be a trade secret and controlled by a private contractor, defendants
are entitled to it.
``Florida cannot contract away the statutory rights of its
citizens,'' the judge wrote.
Judges in other counties have said the opposite: The state cannot
turn over something it does not possess, and the manufacturer should
not have to turn over trade secrets.

This story can be found at: http://tampatrib.com/floridametronews/
MGBUBJ5QK9E.html

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Received on Thu Jun 30 23:17:04 2005

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