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Lawyers raise questions about blood tests in OWI cases

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin O-W-I defense lawyers have formed a committee to investigate a concern over blood sample tests for suspected drunk drivers.  Suburban Milwaukee attorney Andrew Mishlove said jagged humps appear on the graphs of some of the test results.  Lawyers say it could raise questions about the accuracy of 17,000 O-W-I tests performed each year by the state Hygiene Lab.  

A state official calls that "ridiculous," and the unexplained peaks have no bearing on the reliability of the blood tests.  

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the instrument's manufacturer, Perkin-Elmer, checked out the device -- and neither the company nor the state Hygiene Lab knows what's causing the humps on the graphs.  Mishlove wrote in the Wisconsin Law Journal that his firm has obtained software to re-analyze Perkin-Elmer's tests -- and the attorneys' group has retained experts suggesting that lab instruments be taken out of service if they produce suspected results.  

Laura Liddicoat of the Hygiene Lab said the Law Journal article has "fallacies."  She says the unexplained humps quote, "do not constitute a repeated failure or a malfunction under accreditation rules."