Woman Sues Georgia Deputies After Their Field Drug Test Said Her Cotton Candy Was Meth

from the lazy-people-relying-on-stupid-tools dept

Cops love cheap field drug tests because they're cheap and as likely to generate "probable cause" for an arrest/search as their much more expensive drug dogs. No law enforcement agency has ever expressed concerns about these fields tests returning false positives at an alarming rate. They just book people and send them before a judge based on a $2 test that can find anything from drywall powder to doughnut crumbs to be controlled substances. This void in accountability has occasionally been filled by prosecutors, a few of which will not offer or accept plea deals based on nothing more than a field test.

A faulty drug test is at the center of a recently-filed lawsuit. Georgia resident Dasha Fincher is suing Monroe County and two sheriff's deputies over a field drug test that turned cotton candy into methamphetamines and upended her life. (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

According to Fincher's complaint [PDF], she was stopped for a supposed window tint violation by Monroe County deputies Allen Henderson and Cody Maples. Ultimately, the deputies decided the tint on her windows was lawful. But that obviously wasn't the real reason for the stop. The deputies wanted to search the vehicle. According to their report [PDF] of the incident, consent was given by both the driver and Fincher, who was the passenger in the vehicle. Deputy Williams found a "blue crystal like substance" in a bag on the floor. Both the driver and Fincher told the deputy it was cotton candy. The deputies tested it with a field kit, which conveniently confirmed their suspicions.

Based on the packaging and its crystal like feature, Corporal Williams tested the substance using a field kit for Methamphetamine and MDMA. The field kit gave a positive reading.

Here's a picture of the alleged methamphetamine:

Fincher was charged with drug trafficking, a felony that comes with mandatory minimum sentences and hefty fines. Since the drug hadn't been tested at a lab yet, the deputy's guesswork on its weight put Fincher in line for a minimum ten year prison sentence and a fine of $100,000. Bail was set at $1 million, so Fincher had no choice but to remain in jail until the substance was tested by the state's drug lab.

When those results came back, Fincher was cleared. Not only that, but the amount recorded by the lab (26 grams) fell short of the 28 grams needed to charge Fincher with trafficking. But by the time Fincher's innocence was proven, a tremendous amount of damage had been done. Fincher spent three months in jail, missing the birth of her twin grandsons and being unable to help when her daughter suffered a miscarriage. Her charges were dropped April 18, 2017, 109 days after she was arrested. The felony arrest remains on her record.

The lawsuit argues the deputies operated in bad faith, knowing high bail would be set and Fincher would remain in jail until the substance was tested by a lab. She argues they should have known the field tests routinely generated false positives. And there's evidence to back that claim. This report, broadcast last month by a Fox affiliate in Georgia, shows the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's (GBI) crime lab has reversed dozens of field drug test results.

The FOX 5 I-Team obtained every negative drug test report from the GBI Crime Lab in 2017, then researched to find out how many of those cases began with a positive NIK test. We confirmed 145 false positives, wrongly implicating Georgians of all races in all parts of our state. The field tests got it wrong 11 times for heroin, 24 times for ecstasy, 40 times for cocaine and 64 times for methamphetamines.

In each case, someone's life was upended. Georgia's drug laws are harsh and bail amounts are unaffordable for all but the most wealthy. About the only positive resulting from this examination is the Georgia Tech University's police force deciding they'd no longer use field tests. Across the rest of the state, this option hasn't even been considered by law enforcement agencies utilizing the NIK tests.

It may take a lot of lawsuits like this one to push law enforcement agencies to consider quality over quantity. Judges need to be made aware of these problems as well, since they're the ones who can reduce bail, allow releases pending trial, and shut down guilty pleas predicated on tests that are wrong far too often to be considered reliable.


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    identicon
    Your biggest fan or so I bet at nearly 500 pounds!, 3 Dec 2018 @ 10:52am

    Dull. Everyone has already seen. Not arguable.

    Not even helping your anti-police / anti-law bias.


    You do not need a format change, Techdirt. (As I noticed late: gee, hope changes blocks ME from this silly addiction!)

    You need interesting content. This is not.

    Next stale topic, please.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:11am

      Re: Dull. Everyone has already seen. Not arguable.

      The new format certainly hasn't stopped you from lying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:12am

      Re: Dull. Everyone has already seen. Not arguable.

      Complains about stale content everyone has already seen by posting a stale comment that everyone has already seen, now with bonus "entertain me, I'm bored!" brand of entitlement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 12:09pm

      Re: Liars gonna lie Not arguable.

      I vote the next stale topic to be: why you promised to never darken this doorstep again and yet are still here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 6:43pm

      Re:

      You can wipe that cop-flavored cotton candy off your face now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 12:53am

      Re: Dull. Everyone has already seen. Not arguable.

      It's not arguable that an innocent woman spent time in jail at huge personal cost because the police fucked up in ways that they do on a regular basis, that they police are using known flawed tests to lock people up, nor that the system is set up to treat anyone accused of a drug related crime as guilty before the evidence is produced, sure.

      Did you have anything to add, or was this just the start of your pointless whining session for the day?

      "Not even helping your anti-police / anti-law bias."

      Even assuming you weren't lying your ass off about that - how would. story of a woman being robbed of 3 months of her life and irreplaceable life events due to preventable incompetence and systematic abuse *not* help an anti-police bias? I'm curious.

      "Next stale topic, please."

      If you've already read about these stories elsewhere, you're free to stay at wherever you got the story first.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 2:40am

        Re: Re: Dull. Everyone has already seen. Not arguable.

        _It's not arguable that an innocent woman spent time in jail at huge personal cost because the police fucked up in ways that they do on a regular basis_

        Let's put it another way.

        blue just basically admitted that the police he idolizes so much fucks up on a regular basis.

        Not only that, he's perfectly fine with it.

        I'd like to say my mind was blown... but it's really not. blue is just that fucked up!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:00am

    Are We Learning?

    "...consent was given by both the driver and Fincher..."

    Never give consent. Explicitly state that you do not answer questions and do not consent to searches. Then shut up, except to repeat that mantra for any cop that shows up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:28am

      Re: Are We Learning?

      Never give consent. Explicitly state that you do not answer questions and do not consent to searches.

      Funny thing - normal, law abiding, non-savvy grandparents who know they don't have any drugs often have no problem granting consent.

      While this is certainly sound advice - it isn't an actual fix for the problem.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Darkness Of Course (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re: Are We Learning?

        It's a solution that can be done.

        The one involving a humane, honest decision is not available in Georgia and elsewhere. That requires cops to not make those big ticket trafficking arrests. Of innocent people.

        Now guess which is most likely to be achieved first, and the cops doing the right thing is not it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 11:31am

        Re: Re: Are We Learning?

        Still, you should NEVER talk to the police. Even some police will tell you this. Never give consent to search your car. Don't make things easy on them as they out there trying to screw people over one way or another.

        Really, the war on drugs needs to end. What you do to your own body is on you so long as it doesn't affect others, just like Alcohol. Too many innocent people are being affected by this that are innocent. We have more people in jail than any other country in the world. Too many jails. Too many police doing a lot of B.S. It needs to end.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 1:47pm

      Re: Are We Learning?

      Are we learning WHAT??
      That the USA loves to put people in jails?
      Esp. when what they are doing has little to no affect on others, besides themselves..
      Insted of Helping solve a persons problem we would rather throw then in prisons and jails..
      MANY prisons are so full...that If you had a building and Occupancy inspection...THEY WOULD BE CONDEMNED..(thats an interesting idea)

      For all the money spent putting persons in jail, you could pay them to be NICe people.. you could pay a Mental health agency to help them..

      3months in a jail?? to get a drug test?? Go check out a good Pharmacist.. Sugar is base, Meth isnt..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      NeghVar (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 3:19pm

      Re: Are We Learning?

      Some officers or even an entire PD of the city will classify refusing to consent to a search as evidence allowing probable cause and thus they'll search your car anyway. Or sometimes they ask a loaded question such as "You still have marijuana in your car?" On one of the video compilations on youtube of corrupt/bad officers, a driver's dash cam recorded the officer asking the question I quoted above. The drive did not far for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 3:35pm

        Re: Re: Are We Learning?

        Even if they use to as bogus justification it's better to clearly refuse, as if they perform a search it's going to be much easier to challenge it after a refusal than it would be had you given consent.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 1:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Are We Learning?

          Ah, the "land of the free". Where if it's not enough to just be concerned about being gunned down during a traffic stop, you have pre-plan your legal defence on the side of the road in case they lock you up anyway.

          A little hyperbolic, perhaps, but it's always fun to see these kinds of discussions and then have people try telling me about how much more freedom they have than me in other threads.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kitsune106, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:00am

    Soooo

    Since these tests are soo good. Can't we test the cops with this?

    After all, what do they have to hide? And what's good for civilians should be more then good enough for the people's servants. No?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matthew Newman, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:18am

    I've never seen meth so maybe it is exactly like cotton candy... but seriously, who picks up cotton candy and has any questions about what it is?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      That's what they want you to think.

      But seriously, what's the deal with a $1M bail for someone with obvious local and family ties? How is she going to disappear before results are back? And how is there not some consideration of consequences when the drug lab queue is three months long?

      Testing something looking like cotton candy really is the least of the insanity involved here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:45am

        Re: Re:

        They "guesstimated" the amount (weight) of the alleged drugs high enough to shove it up to the highest tier felony, so that Bail Guidelines started at the million dollar mark.

        SOP in some jurisdictions, they get a piece of that bail money.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 11:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Seems like a simple scale and the correct answer in weight would be known. Not a guest to just over the amount to get a huge bail. That seems beyond wrong. The police screw over so many innocent peoples lives and have zero consequences for their actions. Hell, they'll shoot you dead and get away with it.

          I was reading about the police going to the wrong house, broke through the front door, woke up the guy in bed, and as he was half asleep and starting to get up, they assumed he was reaching for a gun and shot him DEAD!!! NOTHING happened to those police officers.

          So many cases like this. So many innocent people killed or thrown in jail that didn't do anything wrong. For what???

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re:

        The drug lab queue is three months long because they are testing everybody and their grandmas cotton candy ;)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 6:23am

      Re:

      but seriously, who picks up cotton candy and has any questions about what it is?

      ...everyone? I mean seriously, what is that? Looks like a cloud or a bunch of blue hair but somehow it's edible. And kids do get a little crazy on the stuff.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:24am

    Simple really

    If she did not want the false arrest, jail time, and life-altering arrest record, she should not have been carrying a substance that could lead to a false positive.

    Really it is her fault the police targeted her, did not care about verifying the results of the test, or any other objective measure to show that they were abusing their power.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MathFox, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:44am

      Re: Simple really

      she should not have been carrying a substance that could lead to a false positive. it is her fault the police targeted her

      Blame the victim!

      Following your advice I should stop buying pepper (is a suspect substance, even on better field tests), brown sugar (heroin), fine white sugar (coke), green herbs (hemp) and so on. If one has to fear for wrongful arrest every day, you're not living in a free country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 1:59pm

      Re: Simple really

      I can't tell if you're being dead serious, or attempting to be sarcastic to make a point but failing horribly at it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:19pm

      Re: Simple really

      If she did not want the false arrest, jail time, and life-altering arrest record, she should not have been carrying a substance that could lead to a false positive.

      A lot of criminals are alive. If you are living in the U.S., just killing yourself may safe you a lot of trouble with law enforcement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:54am

    I think the companies making the drug test should be fined $1 Million for each false positive (payable to the victim).

    This will drive the price of the test up, resulting in departments not using the test or the test becoming very reliable.

    But hey, in GA they have cops that can look at you and decide you are stoned. Maybe they should just train those cops to identify drugs by sight as well, no $2 drug test needed.

    Da Cops don't wana change da test because it gives them more power to put you in jail! That's a noch in their bedpost - and a line on the performance eval, The eval only shows arrests, not convictions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 12:07pm

    Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

    "Her charges were dropped April 18, 2017, 109 days after she was arrested. The felony arrest remains on her record."

    It bacame a false arrest but she still has a felony arrest on her record? What felony arrest?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 12:24pm

      Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

      Yes. A Felony Arrest occurred. It's a matter of Fact and of Public Record.

      Think about it. If her attorneys want to push for a False Arrest charge, they require a record of that arrest.

      On a related note, when something is Expunged from a person's records, it's not erased. They just add "EXPUNGED" at the start of the Charge(s).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

        At the same time the individual has to deal with the fact of a felony arrest on their record. Job applications come to mind, what other things might be impacted?

        Whether it is practice or not, erased should be the answer, after the civil suit of course.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bamboo Harvester (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 1:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

          Erasing it would be Destruction of Evidence, among other things.

          There's a LOT of people wandering around who have Arrest Records and zero Convictions.

          Say the local cops erased it instead of leaving it. What about all the OTHER databases her information is in that includes that Felony Arrest?

          It's Public Record. Surely you're not saying that the government should be able to alter Public Records, are you?

          WHAT she was arrested for proved insufficient to prosecute. But that she WAS arrested is on record. And always will be.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

            There's a LOT of people wandering around who have Arrest Records and zero Convictions.

            Big Julie: "Well, I used to be bad when I was a kid, but ever since then I've gone straight, as has been proved by my record: Thirty-three arrests and no convictions!"

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          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

            I hear ya, and to some degree what you say makes sense.

            I am of the opinion, however, that someone wronged should be made whole. A false arrest should not burden a person with an arrest record, and they should be well compensated for the intrusion, all of the instrusions, on their life, fiscal and otherwise. Preferably by the person making the false arrest, but deep pockets if necessary (I am thinking of the union that represents them here) and government only last. Then the government should seriously reconsider employment of the person who cost them so much money.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Bamboo Harvester (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 3:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

              Was she arrested? YES
              Was she convicted of the crime she was arrested for? NO

              The officer(s) who made the arrest filed reports. She's on those reports. The ADA who filed the charges is on record. The Court Calendar for her Arraignment is Public Record. The dismissal of those charges is Public Record.

              Now, YES, she could petition to be "made whole" as part of a civil suit.

              Which means...

              She'd have the same Arrest Record. Except... it would have (SEALED) next to it, along with a long number representing the Case File. Again, Public Record.

              It's the "unring the bell" trope.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

            It's Public Record. Surely you're not saying that the government should be able to alter Public Records, are you?

            In this case and cases like it? Yes. Keeping something like 'arrested for a felony' on their record after they've been been cleared by the court is nothing less than punishing them for the actions of another, in this case the cop.

            If having that sort of thing on your record is no big deal then I'd suggest shifting it to the one who brought up the bogus charge. After all, I'm sure 'arrested for felony drug trafficking' on the public record of a cop wouldn't have any real impact on their life and job, right?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Bamboo Harvester (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 3:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

              See my above on the number of records involved.

              You simply can't start zapping some of them out of existence. It will leave holes that make the entire Record suspect.

              Besides, give cops or any other governmental body the OK to start deleting Public Record and you'd have to be living in a cave to think they wouldn't use it to cover up their own crimes.

              Delete her Arrest Record and all other Public Records and nobody can be held accountable. Ever.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Kitsune106, 3 Dec 2018 @ 6:02pm

                True

                But you have ot reply honestly to were oyu ever arrested. And if a computer just tosses your employment.

                Also, if you were arrested for said thing, well, that could put you on lists. And well, too many people and companies won't take the risk.

                After all, if arrested, have to be bad. And why take the risk of hiring that letter? I mean, if hte worst happens , its your fault. And if someone innocent cannot get a job and is judged harsh, well, they are a criminal. if they were not, not eve a arrest that has no conviction!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 1:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                "Delete her Arrest Record and all other Public Records and nobody can be held accountable. Ever."

                OK, so... don't delete them and instead have a separate category for arrests that were later found to be bogus, and move the records there so that they don't show up in searches that negative impact a person's life?

                I sincerely hope she doesn't have to work again due to the damage that has already been done to her, but if she does have to then the least that could be done is that the system doesn't continue to fuck her over while trying to repair the damage, don't you think?

                I don't get you guys sometimes, you're so scared of possible government abuse, you won't fix the abuses that are actually happening.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 3:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                  She WAS arrested. That's a matter of Public Record.

                  There ARE two "categories" on a police record - Arrests is one of them. Convictions is the other.

                  And her Arrest Record will show DISMISSED.

                  If you "erased" the Arrest Record, she'd by lying if she answered "Have you ever been arrested" with "No".

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 4:01am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                    "If you "erased" the Arrest Record, she'd by lying if she answered "Have you ever been arrested" with "No"."

                    But, I'm not talking about it being erased, I'm just talking about it being set up in such a way that it doesn't fuck her over for the rest of her life after it's already been destroyed for no good reason

                    I understand concerns about abuse, but there is some middle ground between "erase all evidence" and "do nothing". Besides, some states do have this ability already, just not this particular state from a quick glance. Is Georgia more at risk of abusing the system than the states that already have it in place? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expungement_in_the_United_States

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 6:28am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                      But, I'm not talking about it being erased, I'm just talking about it being set up in such a way that it doesn't fuck her over for the rest of her life after it's already been destroyed for no good reason

                      If someone gets fucked over simply because they were arrested, that's the problem. Not the record of the arrest. An arrest doesn't imply guilt and it should be illegal to hold it against someone.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 6:45am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                        "An arrest doesn't imply guilt"

                        Legally, possibly not. In reality? Some people will assume that you did something to deserve it, justified or not.

                        "it should be illegal to hold it against someone."

                        Perhaps, but the way it stands at the moment is that a drugs related felony arrest on your public record is going to have a negative impact on numerous aspects of your life.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 10:40am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                      There are two completely different items at work here.

                      The Accusation of a Crime, and the Arrest.

                      You're standing next to a telephone pole. Lightning strikes it. You aren't electrocuted. Does that mean the pole was not struck by lightning?

                      She was accused of a drug Felony. She wasn't convicted of that felony, or, IIRC, even tried for it.

                      That's the telephone pole.

                      She WAS Arrested. That's the lightning.

                      There is now a tremendous chain of interlocking documents entered into the Public Record containing her name and the details of the Arrest - from the Officer's Log maintained by the arresting officers stating what they were doing at any given time through 300+ meals in the jail where she was held.

                      You can't poke a few holes in that without not just HER record, but the entire record itself becoming suspect. An
                      Arrest was effected, and fully documented.

                      BTW, your link is for Expungement, which is used to "hide" a CONVICTION, not an arrest. Completely different animal.

                      Her arrest record will show DISMISSED. If her attorneys push for it, a Judge may Seal it. Which looks suspicious as all hell - an Arrest Record under Court Seal dated well past the point that the person in question could be considered a Minor screams "Snitch!" to anyone doing background checks.

                      It sucks. I agree. But if there was an easy fix, Defense attorneys would be using it.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        That One Guy (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 1:54pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                        Her arrest record will show DISMISSED. If her attorneys push for it, a Judge may Seal it. Which looks suspicious as all hell - an Arrest Record under Court Seal dated well past the point that the person in question could be considered a Minor screams "Snitch!" to anyone doing background checks.

                        Which nicely highlights what I imagine is most people's problem with the situation. It it trivial for a cop to screw someone over in this fashion, I suspect at no risk to them(I'd be pleasantly surprised if there was any punishment for a cop who makes a bogus arrest like this), and whether the cop does it intentionally or accidentally it's going to follow the one they arrested for the rest of their life, where trying to get the stain on their record removed stands to make it even worse for them.

                        The objection is not so much that an arrest happened(though there's plenty to object to there), it's that it was utterly absurd and yet it still stands to screw her and those in similar situations over for years if not decades, no matter how ludicrous the circumstances are.

                        It should not be that easy to screw someone's life over, with basically no recourse for the victim, especially when you're talking about a group that is theoretically supposed to be serving the public.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 5 Dec 2018 @ 1:42am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                        "There are two completely different items at work here."

                        Yes, and either can be damaging to a person's future. If a person is guilty, that's their fault. If a person is innocent, it's damaging for them to be further punished by having it on the visible record that potential employers, landlords, etc. will be using to determine her future.

                        Why is that apparently so hard for you to understand?

                        "BTW, your link is for Expungement, which is used to "hide" a CONVICTION, not an arrest. "

                        From the first paragraph of the link:

                        In general, once sealed or expunged, all records of an arrest and of any subsequent court proceedings are removed from the public record, and the individual may legally deny or fail to acknowledge ever having been arrested for or charged with any crime which has been expunged"

                        That seems fairly clear to me, albeit I admit to only having a general understanding. But, even if your claim is true, it's still rather messed up that someone can have a conviction wiped but an arrest where the person is not convicted.

                        "Her arrest record will show DISMISSED"

                        ...and some people will still think there's no smoke without fire and screw her over regardless.

                        This appears to be the disconnect - you're talking the letter of the law. I'm talking about how people actually react. The way they react here is that a person with a felony drug arrest record is not always going to be treated the same as someone with a clean record, no matter which word appears next to that record. Exponentially so if the record also shows the jail time.

                        "But if there was an easy fix"

                        Why does the fix have to be easy?

                        "Defense attorneys would be using it."

                        Why would defense attorneys be involved after the arrest fails to lead to a conviction?

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 11:46am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                    Her Arrest Record will show DISMISSED. That's not much better than convected. That just means they didn't have enough to convict her on and so the case was Dismissed. Still arrested on a bogus Felony charge. To bad it doesn't show THAT in the record. How about change to Bogus Felony arrest?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 12:02pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                      Because this is the way the system works.

                      If they added your "Bogus" arrest column, every Defense lawyer on the planet would be petitioning for EVERY case acquitted to be moved to that status.

                      Cops make a LOT of arrests that end up dismissed. Every day. They make an arrest, get back to the station and the ADA kicks the arrest because they don't have enough evidence to prosecute.

                      Each and every one of those people now have an Arrest Record.

                      Where that becomes a problem on background checks is when the examiner finds MULTIPLE arrests, Dismissed or not.

                      As I mentioned, having records under Seal is even worse if you weren't a minor by the date on the Seal. It makes people suspicious. Better to have that DWI from ten years back showing than to have it Sealed.

                      Dismissals often aren't entered into Police records. Arrests and Convictions ALWAYS are. So if you see a three year old Arrest on a person's record with no Dismissal or Conviction, it's a safe assumption that the charges were either dropped or never filed.

                      It makes sense. From a subjective, emotional standpoint, it's "not fair!". From a logical, objective standpoint, it makes a great deal of sense.

                      As to it being a "bad thing" that "follows her for life", the Arrest HAPPENED. She can NEVER answer "No" to "Have you ever been arrested?" without lying.

                      Better there be a record that can be traced and verified than the alternative.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 5 Dec 2018 @ 1:48am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Georgia, please clean up after yourselves

                        "Because this is the way the system works."

                        Then, the system needs to be changed to protect the rights of the innocent.

                        "Dismissals often aren't entered into Police records. Arrests and Convictions ALWAYS are. So if you see a three year old Arrest on a person's record with no Dismissal or Conviction, it's a safe assumption that the charges were either dropped or never filed."

                        So... you're scared of how people might use tools that are already available for other uses, but you're fine with them making blind assumptions based on what's *not* stated? That's... very strange.

                        What if people make a different assumption to the one you assume they will be making? Wouldn't it be better if peoples' lives were guided by facts rather than the hope that someone will notice that they were treated wrongly?

                        "She can NEVER answer "No" to "Have you ever been arrested?" without lying."

                        Legally she can if it's expunged, it seems. But thanks for admitting that it's a question she will always face, and that you presumably know that a positive answer may lead to negative consequences,.

                        "Better there be a record that can be traced and verified than the alternative."

                        Again, there are alternatives other than erasing the record completely. You just seem to be ignoring that because your argument falls apart if you admit to it.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 1:41pm

    Conspiracy. Fact. Georgia guidestones are in that state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 1:54pm

    Why solve a personal problem when

    You can throw everyone in jail..
    Can we try 1 thing..
    Lets give EACh police officer the choice..
    WE WILL TEST 1 item on there person for Meth, with this test..
    ANd if we get a positive, we send them to jail for 1 month, depending on the weight..
    If over 32 grams, it will be permanent..
    PS. this does not give job protection..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:04pm

    What kind of an idiot judge would put a $1 million dollar bail for something so ridiculously trivial even if the test were accurate? The fact that it wasn't enough weight for the changes makes it even more outrageous.

    This person didn't even have a weapon on them, how the hell does that make them a threat to the community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:13pm

      Re:

      Maybe they're confusing "possibility of getting high" with "flight risk."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Kitsune106, 3 Dec 2018 @ 6:03pm

      I think the judge

      Had no choice. It was a mandatory bail law. If X amount, and Y charges, then Bail amount Z. even if it makes sense and not threat, still Z...

      and lets be honest, would oyu want to be the judge who let a criminal out and they reoffended?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 4 Dec 2018 @ 1:40pm

        Re: I think the judge

        We are talking about drug trafficking here, not sex trafficking. "it's better to incarcerate an innocent person than let 100 grams of cocaine suffer the indignity of being traded" sounds more like the model of justice and individual rights China is working with rather than the U.S.

        Well, traditionally at least.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 1:18am

      Re:

      Because of the "war on drugs", which has caused more damage at this point than the drugs themselves ever would on their own.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 11:49am

      Re:

      Somehow a drug dealer with no weapon. No Scale. Not anything that would even point to being a drug dealer. First offense, and yet a 1 million bail? It's almost like she was arrested for murdering someone and caught red-handed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 8 Dec 2018 @ 7:52am

      Re:

      Yeah, I know what you mean. I don't know why these states and judges don't just drop the pretense and set the bail at $999,999,999,999,999,999. I mean, what good is high bail if everyone on the planet could pool all the money and pony up enough to bail one of these "druggies" out?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:46pm

    Iirc, these tests make the unidentified substance turn blue if it's "meth."

    The cotton candy was blue to start with.

    So it's most likely the cop claimed the test was positive because he was so goddamn stupid that he didn't think that maybe the tested substanced ended up blue because it fuckin' started that way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 4:02am

      Re:

      > Iirc, these tests make the unidentified substance turn blue if it's "meth."

      >The cotton candy was blue to start with.

      And the cop thought, Oh Good it will test positive so that I can arrest her.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 8 Dec 2018 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      I wondered if maybe it wasn't something more evil. Think about it, these so-called false positives, maybe they're not. Maybe these are real positives triggered by evidence falsification; a meth crystal that slips from the cop's hand into the test tube along with the test substance (or gets added in advance).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 2:58pm

    'Wait a sec, that impacts ME?! That just won't do.'

    It may take a lot of lawsuits like this one to push law enforcement agencies to consider quality over quantity.

    Nah, much easier way to get the tests tossed: All drug testing of police, politicians and judges make use of the tests used by police on the public, with testing done on a regular basis by a third party. I all but guarantee that they'd be removed from use within a week.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 4:50pm

      Re: 'Wait a sec, that impacts ME?! That just won't do.'

      a $2 test that can find anything from drywall powder to doughnut crumbs

      Sorry officer, you've tested positive for Krispy meth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 11:17pm

      Re: 'Wait a sec, that impacts ME?! That just won't do.'

      <a href="http:www.happynewyearsms2019.com/happy-new-year-sms-massages-2019/">New Year Shayari</a>

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 1:39am

    Keepin' It Real

    "Drug Test Said Her Cotton Candy Was Meth"

    Sure, it was technically a mistake, but have you ever had cotton candy?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2018 @ 5:44am

      Re: Keepin' It Real

      ..have you ever had cotton candy?

      Maybe she had some stuck to her nose! That's gonna happen when you eat cotton candy.. not talking about snorting it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 4 Dec 2018 @ 8:50am

    Hit their pensions!

    Nothing is ever going to be done to rein in abusive policing until lawsuits attack their pensions. As long as the money is coming from taxpayers, the police and DAs don't care. Hit them personally, take the money from their pensions! Only then will we start to see some positive change.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 5 Dec 2018 @ 10:40am

      Re: Hit their pensions!

      I was just about to say something similar. Why will the police "learn from this" when they can simply say they were doing their job (however badly it may be) and the taxpayers will pay the bill for the lawsuit.
      I know people hate to hear this, but "there ought be a law" that when police are found guilty of such egregious behavior, they're fired and banned from all law enforcement work. This means they can't be hired by the neighboring county (which usually happens when they're fired) or even hired as a security guard. Then maybe police will be a little more careful about how they gather evidence.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 8 Dec 2018 @ 8:10am

    The biggest problem is the jail time

    The biggest problem here was the high bail combined with the long delay until the "real" test was performed.

    Maybe a solution to this abuse would be to require that a real test be performed on the substance within 48 hours, with automatic reduction of the bail by 99% if it's not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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