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State v. Teare

May 28, 1974

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN TEARE, DEFENDANT



Leopizzi, J.d.c., Temporarily Assigned.

Leopizzi

[129 NJSuper Page 562] This case comes to the County Court on a motion to suppress the results

of a breathalyzer test taken pursuant to an arrest under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 et seq. in the Borough of Verona on January 24, 1974 at 1:25 A.M. Defendant John Teare is a New York State licensed driver and was initially stopped for going through a stop sign. He was given a single breathalyzer test with his consent a short time after his arrest. The reading on the meter was .20, which would be prima facie evidence of a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a).

Approximately one month after this arrest defense counsel contacted the municipal prosecutor by telephone to ask to examine the test ampule used in the breathalyzer test of the defendant. Several days later a letter dated February 28, 1974 was sent by defense counsel to the municipal prosecutor confirming their previous conversation. Defense counsel was informed both by telephone and by letter that the test ampule of defendant had been destroyed in accordance with the routine established by the State Police.

Two motions are now presented to the court. The first is that the complaint against defendant should be dismissed because of the State's failure to produce material evidence. The second motion is made in the alternative and seeks the suppression of the results of the breathalyzer.

The grounds upon which these two motions are based, a request by defense counsel to examine the test ampule of a breathalyzer test, is unique in this State so far as this court is able to ascertain.

An eminently qualified expert with a doctorate in chemistry was produced by defendant at the hearing of these motions. A brief recitation of the findings of fact of the expert's testimony is necessary. I find as a fact:

1. The exact volume of the ampule is critical to the accuracy of the test and the exact volume can later be determined by independent test of the ampule.

2. The alcoholic content of the ampule is converted into acetic acid by a chemical reaction.

3. The amount of acetic acid can later be determined by means of a chemical procedure known as Vapor Phase Chromatography (VPC).

4. By means of VPC a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the contents of the ampule can be later determined.

5. By determining the amount of acetic acid in an ampule the amount of blood alcohol in the person ...


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