The Court of Appeals has ruled in our client's case (State v. Olson #66201-5-I) that the State does not have to prove whether a person's blood sample was actually preserved with a “sufficient amount” of enzyme preservatives before showing the results of a blood alcohol concentration test to a jury. State Toxicologist rules clearly state, “Blood samples for alcohol analysis must be preserved with… an enzyme poison sufficient in amount to stabilize the alcohol concentration.” Compliance with this rule is mandatory or else the test results are not admissible evidence for trial.
Our client's blood sample was un-tested for several days and kept unrefrigerated; making it a breeding ground for bacteria to alter the test results. Experts in toxicology report that almost four times more preservative was needed to preserve the blood than what the State used. Unfortunately, cases over the years have only addressed whether blood samples contained “any amount” of preservative; not whether it was “sufficient in amount” to actually preserve the blood. This distinction is critical because if the State's compliance with this rule is met by showing merely that “some amount” of preservative was present in the blood sample, there is no assurance that the alcohol concentration in the blood is accurate or reliable.
We have filed a petition to the State Supreme Court asking that this ruling be reversed. The State should be required to satisfy its own scientific rules with scientifically accurate and reliable evidence. The terms used in these rules must the clearly defined so that we may know what is required of the State to admit blood alcohol evidence. We look forward to challenging this ruling before the Supreme Court to see that the State complies with its own rules, and we are assured only accurate and reliable test results are given to the jury.