TRENTON - The state Supreme Court yesterday turned down a request from defense lawyers to force the state or another group to pay for the testing of a breath-testing machine that the lawyers argue is unreliable and should not be used in drunken-driving prosecutions.

The high court also would not allow the defense attorneys more time to find an independent consultant to test the machine. Lawyers had already named a firm to meet a court-imposed deadline, and are now waiting for a response from the Alcotest machine's manufacturer, said a Cherry Hill-based defense attorney, Evan M. Levow.

More than 10,000 drunken-driving sentences have remained in limbo while the case winds through the courts, and the testing could take several months longer. - Elisa Ung