UPDATE: March 18, 2019 - As a result of the opinion in State v. Cassidy, the NJ Supreme Court has assigned the Honorable Robert A. Fall, P.J.A.D. (retired, on recall) to be the Special Master on those cases in which the Alcotest machines were calibrated by Sgt. Marc Dennis. The Special Master will determine the procedures for accepting, processing and litigating any motions for relief filed by any affected defendants.
UPDATE: November 13, 2018 - The New Jersey Supreme Court decided the case of State v. Eileen Cassidy. The court determined that breath test results produced by Alcotest machines not calibrated using a NIST traceable thermometer are inadmissible. See the attached ruling from the court. - DECISION. Download here
The following are letters that were sent to all potentially affected individuals who were arrested for or convicted of drunk driving between 2008 and 2016 in Somerset County. The State Police Sergeant mentioned below calibrated Alcotest machines that were in use in Somerset County during the aforementioned relevant time frame.
Court records indicate that you were arrested for and/or convicted of drunk driving sometime between 2008 and 2016. This letter is to inform you that it is possible there may have been an issue in the proceedings in your DWI case.
Specifically, it has been alleged that on or about October 6, 2015, and on or about October 7, 2015, New Jersey State Police Sergeant Marc Dennis, a former coordinator in the Alcohol Drug Testing Unit, calibrated the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C (“Alcotest”) evidential breath testing instruments in the City of Asbury Park, the City of Long Branch, and the Township of Marlboro, without following the established protocol and then certified that the calibration was done in accordance with the required procedures. Sergeant Dennis’s alleged false swearing and improper calibrations of these three instruments may call into question all of the calibrations performed by Sergeant Dennis over the course of his career as a coordinator (i.e. 2008 - 2016), and might possibly entitle you to future relief.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has assigned the Honorable Joseph Lisa, P.J.A.D. (retired and t/a on recall) to preside over a hearing to determine whether Sergeant Dennis’s failure to perform a specific step in the established protocol adversely affected the scientific reliability of the calibrations he performed, as well as any evidential breath tests conducted on those Alcotest instruments. The outcome of these legal proceedings, which are now underway, will determine whether you are entitled to future relief.
If you believe that you are presently suffering any adverse consequences from your DWI conviction or pending DWI case, you should consult an attorney to determine if you are entitled to emergent, immediate relief. When the above-noted hearing is completed, Judge Lisa will determine whether Sergeant Dennis’s failure to perform the specific step in the established protocol adversely affected the scientific reliability of the calibrations he performed. If the Judge decides that it did have such an affect, he will also determine whether you are entitled to relief therefrom.
Updates concerning the Alcotest litigation mentioned above will be available on the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office website at www.scpo.net under the heading Alcotest Litigation. Please check that website for the most current status of that litigation as you will not receive any additional letters about that litigation from this office.
Very truly yours,
Thomas J. Chirichella
First Assistant Prosecutor