By Jacquelyn R. Carpenter
Pat Lykos is taking $475,000 of money forfeited from criminal activity and giving it the Houston Police Department to buy reliable breath testing equipment to fix the PR nightmare involving the mobile breath test machines. D.A. Lykos Gives Check to HPD for New Breath Test Machines First, let me put this out there, congratulations on having the ability to buy reliable breath test machines. Personally, I will not trust those results enough to blow in them. Nevertheless, if you are going to prosecute someone, reliable machines should be used. Even Jim Leitner concedes that people fail to maintain the equipment in the BAT vans the way they should. Translation: The BAT vans are unreliable. Of course, I’ve been saying that because Pat Lykos has been saying it. Since I was the defense attorney on the first BAT van case Lykos had her prosecutors try, I am glad to see that the unreliability of the BAT vans will be fixed by taking them out of the equation all together.
Second, why $475,000? There are commentators on Murray Newman’s Blog and on the Channel 13 website that question the costs. So HPD will buy 4 new Intoxilyzer machines that cost no more than $50,000 all together. What, pray tell, is the remaining $425,000 supposed to go toward? If memory serves correctly from Wayne Dolcefino’s initial story, the BAT vans cost the taxpayers $600,000. Not using the BAT vans would have been a waste of taxpayer funds. So it appears from my view that Lykos is simply reimbursing the taxpayers and encouraging the discontinued use of the BAT vans. Nice spin though: HPD, I will pay you $475,000 to not use those machines (and to help repair our publicly broken relationship). Essentially, Pat Lykos is paying to get herself out of the muck-and-mire of the BAT vans so that everyone can and will stop talking about it. Lykos wants to make sure it is no longer news, which, of course, helps with her re-election bid. After all, no one is talking about Rachel Palmer still working as a prosecutor after pleading the “fif.”
Despite Lykos’s agenda, I think this is probably pretty good for citizens of Harris County because faulty equipment will no longer be used in prosecuting those same citizens. It also helps reduce the effect of pointing the finger of blame on HPD so that prosecutorial relations with police can be mended, although I do not expect the police unions to suddenly decide to endorse Lykos’s re-election bid.