Police Allegedly Misuse Drug Testing Kits

Police Expert WitnessThis case involves an individual who was charged with drug possession. The plaintiff takes a dietary supplement, which she would habitually carry with her in the form of a loose powder in a plastic bag. The plaintiff was pulled over on by the police, who proceeded to discover the bag and performed a field narcotics test on the substance. The police officer used a single test kit which returned a negative result; however, following the negative test, a 2nd test kit was pulled out, which is alleged to have tested positive. The plaintiff was arrested as a result. The substance obtained from defendants on that day was ultimately sent to a lab for testing and again came back with a negative result. It is alleged that the police did not properly use the test kit, or falsified the positive result from the 2nd kit. A police activities expert witness was sought to opine on this issue.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have experience on the proper steps/procedures that should be taken when testing substances thought to be illegal drugs?
  • 2. Is it typical to conduct more than 1 test?
  • 3. Is it customary not to show the results to the accused?
  • 4. Have you worked on plaintiff cases before? Can you review this case?

Expert Witness Response E-011457

I have 30+ years of law enforcement experience and am well versed in the steps and protocols that should be taken when administering a drug test. It is not typical to conduct multiple tests so I have questions regarding why they took more than one. Obviously the first test that was negative was an accurate test. The alleged second test was a false positive. I am basing that on the negative Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer test done by the state lab. The field presumptive tests are just that, presumptive. They are not legally admissible except to establish probable cause. You cannot convict based on one of those tests. They are simply not accurate enough because often times they have expired, been kept in hot car etc, and that leads to bad tests.

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