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Field drug test kit false positives lead to jail time and job loss for innocents Login/Join 
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Drug testing is expensive. As a result there is a tendency to use a less expensive kit which produces poor results.
 
Posts: 4060 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fire begets Fire
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quote:
Originally posted by ZSMICHAEL:
Drug testing is expensive. As a result there is a tendency to use a less expensive kit which produces poor results.


TANSTAAFL!





"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
~Robert A. Heinlein
 
Posts: 22982 | Location: Row 2F | Registered: February 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by rscalzo:
quote:
How the hell do you get from Dec 31 to March without testing something

quote:
Any drug can be looked up in seconds to see what the tablet should look like and prescriptions for narcotics are maintained in an electronic database (at least here in MN) to prevent doctor shopping. It is very easy to know what the person has and if they should have it.


Looking up the medication. Yes. Looking up prescription records. No way you're getting access to that. My dentist can't even send my tooth xray to another doctor without using a special encrypted system.

Testing same day? Never going to happen unless you're a TV shop. Many labs are a significant distance away and backed up.

Not getting the one million bond unless their past history was peppered with drup offenses.


I have a customer that owns the lab that does the blood tests and tests drugs for the entire prison systems of 5 different states. They can do a drug test the next day. The sample ships fedex overnight, and they test it the day it comes in.

3 months for the crime lab to test it is absolutely BS.
 
Posts: 16596 | Registered: June 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Big Stack
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Are the results of these field tests admissible at trial, or does the prosecution have to do a proper lab test?
 
Posts: 18401 | Registered: November 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by BBMW:
Are the results of these field tests admissible at trial, or does the prosecution have to do a proper lab test?


Trial, no. But they would be at a preliminary exam (probable cause hearing). At least in Michigan.
 
Posts: 966 | Registered: July 06, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Is it common for LE to outsource their drug testing samples to private labs or are there some departments that have internal drug testing lab capability?
 
Posts: 4138 | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Modern Day Savage:
Is it common for LE to outsource their drug testing samples to private labs or are there some departments that have internal drug testing lab capability?


Can't speak to truly private labs, but in Michigan (sorry to keep giving that qualifier) almost all police departments send suspected controlled substances to the Michigan State Police lab for testing. Very few have an in-house lab. As you can imagine, their funding is such that they simply cannot turn all those tests around in a couple days. Usually more like a few weeks to a month.
 
Posts: 966 | Registered: July 06, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by jimmy123x:
quote:
Originally posted by rscalzo:
quote:
How the hell do you get from Dec 31 to March without testing something

quote:
Any drug can be looked up in seconds to see what the tablet should look like and prescriptions for narcotics are maintained in an electronic database (at least here in MN) to prevent doctor shopping. It is very easy to know what the person has and if they should have it.


Looking up the medication. Yes. Looking up prescription records. No way you're getting access to that. My dentist can't even send my tooth xray to another doctor without using a special encrypted system.

Testing same day? Never going to happen unless you're a TV shop. Many labs are a significant distance away and backed up.

Not getting the one million bond unless their past history was peppered with drup offenses.


I have a customer that owns the lab that does the blood tests and tests drugs for the entire prison systems of 5 different states. They can do a drug test the next day. The sample ships fedex overnight, and they test it the day it comes in.

3 months for the crime lab to test it is absolutely BS.


It routinely takes 6-12 weeks for testing in my state. The state crime lab has a budget and they're testing for hundreds of agencies. They COULD test them same day, but there are literally thousands of cases in line. They also pay state money, so recruiting and retention can be an issue.
 
Posts: 2434 | Location: Iowa | Registered: February 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Middle children
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Originally posted by YooperSigs:
As for me, when I worked the street, if I found anything I thought was dope related, I shipped it to the crime lad for a full examination. All the suspects were kicked loose after I fully identified them. They were not going anywhere. And once the lab results came back, I kicked it over to our dope unit. That's what they are there for.
In many cases, I already had other charges that jailed the suspects. Rely solely on field test to make an arrest with no other offenses? Never did it. And the prosecutors I worked for would not accept charges based on a field test either.
In the referenced case, not only are the cops wrong, their prosecutor and court are equally wrong.


This is obviously the logical and responsible approach.

The state must assume the defendant is innocent until it can be proven they are guilty. If the drug testing lab takes several months to prove that guilt then the defendant should be free to go about their lives in the mean time absent any other crimes that warrant jail.

The couple in this story received the punishment of being guilty (lost job and missed naturalization ceremony) without the state having done anything to prove that guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Those are life changing events. I hope they sue the shit out of this department and win big.




I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.

-Vince Lombardi
 
Posts: 2371 | Location: Ohio | Registered: September 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A) Willing to bet there was something else going on/known history (especially w. the 1 million bond. That approaches murder territory)

B) Food Dyes, etc might complicate color changes (such as those in cotton candy.)

C) Tell an elderly person/other one on lots of medications, they have to keep their pills in the original bottles. Hell, I had a health issue in my late 20s, and had to use one of those pill schedule boxes to keep them straight.
 
Posts: 3561 | Location: Republic of Ice Cream, Myrtle Beach, SC | Registered: May 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Big Stack
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So they're only used to determine probably cause. So even if they false positive, if the substance isn't actually illicit narcotics, that will come out at trial (or before, when the lab tests come back.)

Yes, I know it sucks to get arrested when someone is in fact innocent, but not all the facts are known at the time of arrest. In these cases, they legitimately thought they had probable cause. This is why there are trials. If LE needed proof beyond a reasonable doubt to make an arrest, very few people, including those who really need and deserve to be arrested, ever would be.

quote:
Originally posted by Palm:
quote:
Originally posted by BBMW:
Are the results of these field tests admissible at trial, or does the prosecution have to do a proper lab test?


Trial, no. But they would be at a preliminary exam (probable cause hearing). At least in Michigan.
 
Posts: 18401 | Registered: November 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
safe & sound
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Yes, I know it sucks to get arrested when someone is in fact innocent, but not all the facts are known at the time of arrest.









Ponch: Hey Jon! Check this out.

Jon: Looks like cotton candy.

Ponch: No man! Gotta be meth.

Jon: But she said she just came from the carnival.

Ponch: I'm telling you. Drugs man!

Jon: It's a lot. In a plastic bag that says Cotton Candy. Looks like Cotton Candy. Smells like Cotton Candy. Sticks to my fingers like Cotton Candy.

Ponch: Look. I put the "cotton candy" with the blue dye into our drug test, and it turned blue. Told you! Meth!


________________________



www.zykansafe.com
 
Posts: 13242 | Location: St. Charles, MO, USA | Registered: September 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should
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The good news is that the guy finally got sworn in as a citizen.
https://www.scoopnest.com/user...were-ecstasy-dealers
 
Posts: 4533 | Location: North GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by BBMW:Yes, I know it sucks to get arrested when someone is in fact innocent, but not all the facts are known at the time of arrest. In these cases, they legitimately thought they had probable cause. This is why there are trials. If LE needed proof beyond a reasonable doubt to make an arrest, very few people, including those who really need and deserve to be arrested, ever would be.


OK, that might be the understatement of the day. Being arrested and having to prove your innocence in court is a bit more than an inconvenience. Especially when you KNOW DAMN WELL you're innocent.
 
Posts: 7523 | Location: The Red part of Minnesota | Registered: October 06, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Palm:
quote:
Originally posted by Modern Day Savage:
Is it common for LE to outsource their drug testing samples to private labs or are there some departments that have internal drug testing lab capability?


Can't speak to truly private labs, but in Michigan (sorry to keep giving that qualifier) almost all police departments send suspected controlled substances to the Michigan State Police lab for testing. Very few have an in-house lab. As you can imagine, their funding is such that they simply cannot turn all those tests around in a couple days. Usually more like a few weeks to a month.


Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

Purely anecdotal, but my doctor's office does their own blood draws and, depending on the specific test(s) being performed, either does the testing in house or if not able to, sends their samples out for testing to a local lab. My doctor calls/ texts/ or emails the results to me and I've never gone more than 24 hours without receiving the results...often I receive the results the same day blood was drawn and within hours of it.

I've also been a frequent in-patient and out-patient in a local large busy hospital. As an out-patient one of my doctors has received the results and called me with them in less than 24 hours. As an in-patient in the hospital I've never waited more than two hours for the results and in at least one case, before a surgical procedure, my results were ordered as a priority and received in less than an hour.

It's possible, even likely, that what specific tests the lab is performing affect the time it takes to get results back...not to mention factors like the time it takes in receiving the shipped samples and the time it takes to interpret the results and transmit them back...

...but it seems to me that if busy doctor's offices and local big hospitals can get the results so quickly so often that a police lab or private lab handling large numbers of tests should be able to as well.

I'm certain that backlogs are a factor in getting results (while still emphasizing the quality required for accurate) results.

Police departments and DA offices should be looking for efficiencies and other ways to get timely results...and if that means cracking the whip and demanding this from either labs run by LE or private contract labs, or in augmenting the system by outsourcing "overflow" lab results to outside qualified labs. The costs involved in jailing and caring for offenders waiting on lab results can't be insignificant and that same money could be applied to getting lab results and determining the final disposition of their cases.

Jailing Innocents for weeks/ months is ludicrous and smacks of inefficiencies and failures at the administrative/ management level of the judicial system and LE department.
 
Posts: 4138 | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by BBMW:
Yes, I know it sucks to get arrested when someone is in fact innocent,


Obviously an understatement. But I will ask, have you ever sat in jail knowing your were innocent?

quote:
Originally posted by BBMW:
...In these cases, they legitimately thought they had probable cause.


Another huge assumption. When the cops are pulling a car over for a tag cover, they could care less about the "legitimacy" of the stop.

Wonder if the Doraville PD would pull Kirby Smart over for the same tag cover infraction? (maybe so if they were Tech fans....)
 
Posts: 1554 | Registered: September 19, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by jimmy123x:
quote:
Originally posted by AH.74:
How the hell do you get from Dec 31 to March without testing something, while holding someone in Jail? JFC.


The entire story is beyond belief. You could absolutely ruin an innocent persons entire life. Could lose their job, house, all of their possessions, etc.



Could? They have. Repeatedly.


---------------------------------
- "This town reminds me of something in the bible."
- "Which part?"
- "The part right before god gets angry"
 
Posts: 8486 | Location: TN | Registered: December 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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but it seems to me that if busy doctor's offices and local big hospitals can get the results so quickly so often that a police lab or private lab handling large numbers of tests should be able to as well.

Again it is possible, but there is an expense involved. The test kits used to check parolees are very cheap. Typically they do not test for adulterants, because that is another expense. As a result, parolees dilute their urine with substances that cause the illcit metalbolites to precipitate out. The result is that a parollee looks clean, but is still using drugs.
 
Posts: 4060 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am not trying to justify the delay in this case.

However - talking about how quickly one can get blood/urine tests back and comparing that to the testing of a suspected controlled substance is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

A confirmatory test to see if a white rock really is crack cocaine involves Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer or Infrared Spectroscopy. That all involves time. It's not as simple as putting a piece of the white rock in a container and a light bulb lighting up showing yes or no.

Again, I'm not saying it's right that someone should be held for weeks or months awaiting the confirmatory test, when there is evidence that the presumptive test (field test) may be unreliable. I'm just saying that confirmatory tests for controlled substances are not the same as blood or urine tests in a doctor's office.
 
Posts: 966 | Registered: July 06, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Palm:Again, I'm not saying it's right that someone should be held for weeks or months awaiting the confirmatory test, when there is evidence that the presumptive test (field test) may be unreliable. I'm just saying that confirmatory tests for controlled substances are not the same as blood or urine tests in a doctor's office.


That's understandable. ID the person, take the stuff, let them go. Let them bring an Rx to the station within 48 hours if they are the legitimate patient. If it's not Rx, test it and find them later if it turns out to be narcotics. It's not like you are turning loose a serial killer.
 
Posts: 7523 | Location: The Red part of Minnesota | Registered: October 06, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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