Denison v. Anchorage

In Denison v. Anchorage, P.2d 1001 (Alaska App. 1981) the district court precluded Denison from presenting a videotape made by the police following her arrest, and from presenting witnesses who would have testified about how much alcohol Denison had consumed prior to her arrest. The district court held that "non-technical evidence of actual sobriety offered as proof of the inaccuracy of a breathalyzer result is inadmissible in a case involving a charge of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent or greater unless technical evidence that the test was inaccurate is also presented." The Court rejected this rationale, and held that the case was controlled by the basic concept of relevance, and by Evidence Rule 402's preference for the admission of all relevant evidence "unless such evidence is otherwise specifically made inadmissible by constitution, statute or rule." Because the government had "failed to cite any constitutional provision, statute, or rule specifically rendering inadmissible the type of evidence offered by Denison in her own behalf," Denison was entitled to a new trial.