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Attorney blasts breath test

Patrick ParkinsonOf the Record staff

After he was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, an attorney who has often criticized the government of Summit County claims a faulty test of his breath resulted in his arrest and a trip to jail.

John Flitton, who is 40 years old, represents the private Summit Water Distribution Company in legal battles that involve water laws in the area.

Flitton was charged last year with driving under the influence of alcohol in an unregistered vehicle that had faulty headlights after a Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped him in Summit County Sept. 3, 2005.

"Ultimately, Flitton was made to blow for approximately [10] seconds into an Intoxilyzer 5000 machine, and the result printed was .179," a motion filed in Third District Court on behalf of Flitton states.

But Park City attorney David Rosenbloom, who represents Flitton, claims the test is not admissible evidence because the machine was not properly tested at the time Flitton blew.

The legal blood-alcohol content in Utah for operating a motor vehicle is limited to .08 grams.

State law requires the breath-testing equipment be examined monthly "to demonstrate that the machine is functioning with the manufacturer’s specifications," states a motion to suppress evidence Rosenbloom filed Dec. 5.

"[Flitton] requested these certificates of analysis and quality and was told neither the certificates or copies of them were kept by the [state]," Rosenbloom states in the 6-page motion.

The attorney claims if this were true Utah would be the only state in America that "discards the very proof that supports the entire accuracy of the testing program," according to the motion to suppress.

Rosenbloom insists state officials must maintain the data and prove it’s accurate before suspects are prosecuted.

"The problem in this case is that the testing done on the machine will demonstrate that the process is inherently flawed and like no other state in the nation," Rosenbloom’s motion states.

If Judge Bruce Lubeck ignores his request to suppress the evidence, Rosenbloom asks he "consider holding a hearing during which the state should be required to show that the process has sufficient reliability "

An evidentiary hearing for Flitton is scheduled Jan. 23, 2007. The case was appealed in district court after Flitton was convicted in Summit County’s lower justice court.

"[Flitton] works for Summit Water but that doesn’t exclude him from obeying the law," Summit County Attorney David Brickey recently told The Park Record.


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