San Francisco Crime Lab Tech Pleads Not Guilty
As we wrote last month, the San Francisco crime lab is a mess, hundreds of prosecutions have been ditched and the lab itself shut down. Today, Crime Lab Tech Deborah Madden who is at the center of the scandal, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of possession of cocaine. Police found 1/10 of a gram of coke in her bedroom during a search. (1/10 of a gram of cocaine is a felony in California. Under federal law, possession for personal use is a misdemeanor.)
There's also this report, False Positives Equal False Justice. [More...]
From the Executive Summary:
One only has to look at the decades-old War on Drugs to see how we’ve handed over personal privacy and reason to law enforcement in the name of reducing the perceived harmful impacts of drug use. Tragically, the extensive array of lab and field drug tests used today, while intended to aid the government in law enforcement, too often mislead police with false results that punish Americans with wrongful prosecutions and incarcerations.
Contained in this report are the results of experiments performed with field drug test kits that expose and document that they render false positives with legal substances. Based on the false positives, people continue to be wrongfully
charged with, and prosecuted for, drug crimes. It is all too clear from the new research that there are numerous victims of false positives who have had a traumatic and costly experience that sometimes involves being held in jail for days, weeks or longer while waiting for more accurate confirmation tests to exonerate them. It is also revealed that the false positive based arrests can lead to costly lawsuits for local and state governments by outraged victims.
The documents in the report show police use faulty tests, even for pot:
False Positives Equal False Justice documents that law enforcement officials, forensic drug analysts, and prosecutors knowingly employ the flawed Duquenois-Levine and KN Reagent tests as well as mere conclusory police reports to
wrongfully prosecute and convict millions of individuals for anti-marijuana law violations. These wrongful prosecutions and convictions violate Supreme Court rulings, specifically Jackson v. Virginia and Daubert v. Dow Merrell
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which prohibit the use of inaccurate, nonspecific tests and/or conclusory reports because they do not prove the presence of marijuana in a seized substance.
In other words, millions of people have been, and continue to be, prosecuted and convicted of marijuana charges without proof that they possessed marijuana.
No charges have been filed as yet pertaining to the lab scandal.
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