A frustrated judge once asked me,
“Justin why don’t you ever stipulate to a forensic science result?”
They answer is simple: Because they are not reliable.
For those who are not familiar with the terminology, “stipulating” means accepting the result of a forensic test without questioning it.
Many The vast majority of lawyers do this, but I don’t. (Related: Please see issues with DUI blood testing)
The reason is that I have never found a single forensic test that does not have a legitimate question in it as to whether the result is true. Whether it is the handling of the sample, the calibration of the machine, the method or the competence of the lab technician, there is a lot of room for error and doubt. Accepting the result blindly would be like saying:
Machines are infallible, and humans wearing lab coats never make mistakes.
This is clearly ludicrous. No one in their right mind would say this. Unfortunately, judges, prosecutors, jurors and even defense attorneys blindly accept the results of these forensic tests everyday.
Would any legitimate defense attorney blindly accept a police report to be true on the basis that all police officers are 100% truthful all the time? Of course not!
Stipulating to a forensic test, in my opinion, is even more outrageous than that. At least a police report has several sentences, maybe some paragraphs and maybe over to another page that gives some support (as bare as it may be) to the conclusions and opinions rendered in the arrest. The typical lab report just says the result with no description of how or why they came to that result. It just reads “Blood Alcohol Content is 0.160.”
This is why it important for a professional DUI lawyer to carefully examine all of the evidence and ask the right question that will uncover the truth. A decision of innocent or guilt should be based on the truth- and not on blind trust.