Crime: Three months in jail for cotton candy? Inside the nationwide crime lab backlog - PressFrom - US
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CrimeThree months in jail for cotton candy? Inside the nationwide crime lab backlog

16:02  20 june  2019
16:02  20 june  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

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Three months later, tests results came back and confirmed that the substance in the bag was not an illegal drug, WMAZ reported. According to the lawsuit, blue food coloring used in the cotton candy would likely cause a false positive test result. The lawsuit also claims that the test used has a history

Now, Dasha Fincher is suing Georgia's Monroe County after spending over three months in jail —all because the cops thought her cotton candy looked like meth, WMAZ reports. So Fincher was hauled off to jail for meth trafficking with the intent to sell and slapped with a massive, million bail.

"CTM in Focus" is original reporting you'll see only on "CBS This Morning," exposing new information on issues that impact us all. There's a growing backlog at crime labs nationwide that's leaving victims waiting for justice: A recent government report found the backlog for DNA analysis increased almost 85% from 2011 through 2017. "CBS This Morning" got a rare look inside the Arkansas state lab, and spoke to one woman stuck behind bars because of the backlog.

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three months in jail was not methamphetamine — it was cotton candy , according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The judge ordered her to be jailed on a million bond, which the lawsuit said she couldn’t afford so she remained in jail for about three months while the GBI tested the substance.

Inside Edition. Dasha Fincher was in the car with her boyfriend when sheriff's deputies found a bag of cotton candy they suspected to be drugs. She was charged with drug trafficking and thrown in jail . She was released three months later after another test came back negative.

On New Year's Eve in 2016, Dasha Fincher was on her way to a pawn shop in Macon, Georgia with her boyfriend. She said she wasn't nervous when she got pulled over by a police officer, "because we weren't doing anything wrong."

Dashcam video showed that the pair was calm and cooperative – but things changed when the officer found a bag in the backseat. It was a bag of cotton candy, which Fincher said was left in the car on a humid night, turning the fluffy treat into blue crystals. Results from a roadside test kit identified it as meth.

"I couldn't believe it," Fincher said, adding "I wanted to cry, but I was like 'this would be over in a minute. It would be over in a minute.' I really didn't even think that I would even go to jail."

But less than eight minutes later, she was in handcuffs, charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Her bond was set at $1 million, an amount she couldn't even come close to paying.

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A woman who spent three months in jail after her bag of cotton candy falsely tested positive for meth is suing. While prosecutors dropped the charged against Fincher the following month , she claims she missed major life events while in jail and wants the county to pay.

A Georgia woman says she spent nearly four months in jail because a roadside drug test falsely labeled a bag of cotton candy as methamphetamine. Fincher said when Monroe deputies Cody Maples and Allen Henderson saw a large open plastic bag inside the car, she told them it contained

She sat in jail for three months. "I was just always calling home and telling them to please, please come up here and do something," she said tearfully, adding that it was the hardest time in her life. "I missed a lot," she said.

Desperate to get out, Fincher considered taking a deal before her evidence was even tested by the crime lab. According to her attorney, James Freeman, the testing process could take at least three months in Georgia.

Freeman said "it's not just a chance, it's a fact" that innocent people are taking plea deals just to get out of jail as a result. Fincher passed on taking that deal, and was eventually released when the lab results came back negative for any illegal drugs. She's now suing.

Her battle with backlog is not unique, according to Freeman: "It's not just drug cases. It's not just accused criminals. It's everything that needs to be tested by the crime lab."

But Georgia isn't the only state facing a growing crime lab backlog: CBS News has uncovered that dozens of states are significantly behind. In Illinois, there's a backlog of more than 23,000 cases. In South Carolina, it could take more than nine months to get results back on DNA or firearms testing. And in Idaho, some cases have been pending for almost two years.

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The Justice Department apparently has given up on eliminating the growing backlog of crime lab DNA tests. But that seems to be the case in his losing effort to reduce, not to mention eliminate, the steadily growing national backlog in DNA testing to fight crime .

A cotton candy vendor during the first inning of a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics Thursday, May 21, 2015, in St Fincher says she was jailed until a state crime lab in 2017 found no controlled substances in the candy . The November lawsuit names the county

It's a problem in Arkansas, too, where crime lab director Kermit Channell says the problem escalated about six years ago in connection with the opioid crisis. In his lab alone, DNA and drug cases have nearly doubled since 2014.   "They are more complex," Channell said, adding "it's not simple marijuana – it's methamphetamine, it's fentanyl, it's heroin."

Channel said his crime lab tests 23,000 pieces of essential evidence in drug cases each year, which translates to a potential 150-day delay to get the case ready for a grand jury or an indictment. But Channell emphasized that this isn't just a problem in Arkansas – instead, he said, it's a "national epidemic."

Arkansas's governor approved more funding for the crime lab, and the state will open a new lab in July. It's working closely with prosecutors to close out cases where a deal has been struck, and farming out some of the testing to private labs because they can't handle the backlog themselves.

Three months in jail for cotton candy? Inside the nationwide crime lab backlog© Credit: CBSNews Cops said it was meth – it was cotton candy: Inside the nationwide crime lab backlog

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