Man Gets Three Months for Possession of Breath Mints

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

It’s a bit odd how often narco field testing kits turn back false positives. In the past, we’ve seen chocolate chip cookies, deoderant, billiards chalk, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap come back positive, all causing undeserved, firsthand familiarity with the criminal justice system for the owners of the innocuous substances.

Looks like we can now add breath mints to the list.

A man is suing the Kissimmee Police Department for an arrest over mints. When officers pulled Donald May over for an expired tag, they thought the mints he was chewing were crack and arrested him.

May told Eyewitness News they wouldn’t let him out of jail for three months until tests proved the so-called drugs were candy…

May was pulled over for an expired tag on his car. When the officer walked up to him, he noticed something white in May’s mouth. May said it was breath mints, but the officer thought it was crack cocaine.

“He took them out of my mouth and put them in a baggy and locked me up [for] possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence,” May explained.The officer claimed he field-tested the evidence and it tested positive for drugs.

The officer said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. He also stated in his report May waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily admitted to buying drugs.

May said that never happened.”My client never admitted he purchased crack cocaine. Why would he say that?” attorney Adam Sudbury said.

May was thrown in jail and was unable to bond out for three months. He didn’t get out until he received a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office that test results showed no drugs were found.

“While I was sitting in jail I lost my apartment. I lost everything,” he said.

While May was in jail, the police department also auctioned off his car.

Last March, the Marijuana Policy Project announced the results of some lab testing they’d hired an expert to conduct on some of the more commonly used field tests, and found that patchouli, spearmint, and eucalyptus all tested positive for marijuana on one test kid, while an incredible 33 of 42 innocuous substances tested on another came back positive, including vanilla, anise, chicory, and peppermint.

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69 Responses to “Man Gets Three Months for Possession of Breath Mints”

  1. #1 |  M | 

    Who chews crack anyways? I thought you were supposed to smoke it.

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    abby hoffman’s ‘steal this urine test’ was the battle cry for me back in hs (1984). much of the doom and gloom he predicted (and people dismissed) has been so far surpassed that the book seems quaint now.

    for stealing his property, his freedom, and his reputation, I hope the fuckwit cop who falsified the report and confused breath mints with cocaine loses his job and has to forage through KFC dumpsters for food while begging his gas station girlfriend to let him live with her because he lost his apt…

  3. #3 |  perlhaqr | 

    Sounds like the stupid cop in question owes him a new car, apartment, and apartment belongings. Hope he didn’t have anything of too much sentimental value, there.

  4. #4 |  Steve Verdon | 

    How about there was no field test and the cop lied.

    Either that or field test are complete shit, and don’t provide probably cause or whatever the terms is for arrest.

    I’m thinking a professor…an untenured professor somewhere could make a bit of splash by thoroughly testing the efficacy of these field test kits.

  5. #5 |  Marty | 

    ‘Who chews crack anyways?’

    sometimes people chew it up to get rid of the evidence… it’s easy to od this way.

  6. #6 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The perp is Officer Eric Rice. He’s not named in the article for some reason, but is in the complaint that is linked from it.

    If you want a laugh, here’s what they have on their front page at http://www.kissimmee.org/ch_dept_police.aspx

    Values

    We value human life and dignity.

    We will treat everyone with fairness, compassion and respect.

    We value integrity: In order to maintain the trust and respect of those who depend on us, we will be honest and fair in all of our actions.

    We value excellence: We will provide the best police service to our community.

    Yeah, dignity, integrity, compassion, respect. Easy to say, isn’t it?

    Unless Eric Rice is in jail right now, your “values” are bullshit and nothing more.

  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    ‘Either that or field test are complete shit…’

    even in perfect lab settings, there’s a significant chance of a positive result… field testing has to be horrible.

  8. #8 |  J sub d | 

    The officer said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. He also stated in his report May waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily admitted to buying drugs.

    LEOs often (routinely?) commit perjury and are rarely prosecuted or disciplined for it. The War on Liberty continues.

  9. #9 |  hamburglar007 | 

    I’m sure the department did the right thing and immediately gave him the money received from auctioning his car upon release.

  10. #10 |  Frank | 

    How long will it be before people wronged by law enforcement don’t bother with courts and personally apply their own retribution?

  11. #11 |  Matt D | 

    Completely ridiculous and yet the fact that the officers in question would so blithely lie and imprison a man suggests that it’s also completely routine.

  12. #12 |  Michael Chaney | 

    By the way, there’s no reason to believe this was the result of a false positive field test, as there’s no reason to believe a field test was performed. In May’s complaint, he states that there was no field test. Of course, he also naively states that such a test wouldn’t show positive for a Chiclet.

    I would actually be willing to let Rice off the hook *if* it can be shown that his field test comes up positive for a Chiclet. But that needs to be investigated.

  13. #13 |  Aresen | 

    …on one test kid, while an incredible 33 of 42 innocuous substances tested on another came back positive, including vanilla, anise, chicory, and peppermint.

    On second thought, I’ll have a strawberry shake instead of vanilla.

  14. #14 |  Ginger Dan | 

    Frank — I think that day is coming soon, unfortunately I think the repercussions of such retribution would lead to the jackboot on the throat of liberty easing down just a bit more.

    I never used crack, but logic tells me the smell of a breath mint and the smell of cocaine mixed with chemicals are probably two distinct scents. I mean if crack really freshened your breath and tasted minty, wouldn’t the street names for it be more along the lines of toothpaste brands. “I got that Fresh, AquaFresh, two for twenty!”

  15. #15 |  Zargon | 

    Sounds like the field tests are doing exactly what they were designed to do – provide evidence to lock people up.

    while an incredible 33 of 42 innocuous substances tested on another came back positive, including vanilla, anise, chicory, and peppermint.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

  16. #16 |  Some Guy | 

    This police department has a Facebook fan page. It’s got a lot of press releases, but I don’t see this story. Surprising.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kissimmee-FL/Kissimmee-Police-Department/121674115596

    They do emphasize they are heroes, however:

    “The Kissimmee Police Department is supporting the Florida Blood Centers current blood drive challenge Battle of the Badges.

    The Battle of the Badges is a fierce competition between the men and women who are literally heroes in our community. This is a “Calling All Agencies” blood drive, with the Orange, Osceola and Seminole County Sheriff’s office battling the police departments in the tri-county area from August 3 through August 31.

    The Battle of the Badges is open to the public! You can be a part of a month-long life-saving blood drive with the badge-wearing heroes.”

    If they do say so themselves.

  17. #17 |  God's Own Drunk | 

    How are these field test allowed in court if it can be shown that they are unreliable? Shouldn’t they have ruled inadmissable by the first judge to have the results of a test shown to be wrong? I’m not a lawyer, but I thought these kinds of things were decided by precedents, and I can’t imagine no defense lawyer has never challenged these tests.

    If these field tests are allowed, cops might as well be able to say in court “I could tell he was guilty just by looking at him” to support probable cause.

  18. #18 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The field tests probably aren’t allowed in court, that’s why it was (finally) sent to the state lab for testing. Police *do* need *reliable* field tests so they can easily tell if someone has crack or bubble gum, to establish probable cause. There’s a different level needed for court, but it should be even higher yet than it is.

    In other news, one article mentions that the attorneys are trying to find Rice to serve him. This might be him at the University of FL in Gainesville:

    http://www.police.ufl.edu/patrol/patrol_jhmhsc.asp

    The Health Science Center Police Office is permanently staffed by UFPD Captain Eric Rice.

  19. #19 |  Dr X | 

    Re: The Kissimmee PD Facebook page. They have a story of a man charged with attempted homicide of a police officer. It’s alleged that the accused fired a gun at a police officer. The police officer was not hit. I am sorely tempted to ask if they’re sure the man didn’t throw a breath mint at the officer.

  20. #20 |  Bob | 

    So… where the hell is the ‘cocaine’ Officer Eric Rice claims to have seen him purchase? Oh! It was brilliantly disguised as Rolaids! Also, I was unaware you couldn’t simply arrest someone for possession of cocaine… you had to stop them for an expired tag first.

    I understand why he waited 4 years fo file a lawsuit… I would have waited for the cop’s disappearance (Which I would swear I was not involved with!) to fall out of the news, too.

    So… What the fuck! What could possibly have been going through this cop’s mind? He pulls over a guy chomping a Rolaids, which segues into “Oh! It must be Coke! I’ll just say I saw this guy buy it in an intersection!”

    And then they even confiscated his freakin’ car, which wasn’t even his… it belonged to his daughter. And auctioned it off.

    And the really amazing part? It’s a white guy! What, is there a quota? “Guys! We gotta jack up a white guy today, we’re not making our quota!”

  21. #21 |  MRK | 

    That’ll teach him to get fresh…

  22. #22 |  scott | 

    I don’t know why everyone’s so bent out of shape. There will inevitably be an internal investigation related to this case and there will inevitably be a finding that Officer Rice and the Kissimmee PD didn’t violate any departmental rules or procedures. And since Mr. May was ultimately vindicated and cleared of the charges it’s undeniable proof that the system works.

    If I missed something you’ll have to forgive me; my “Official PD Response” script is a bit dog-eared and ratty what with it being used so frequently and with such abandon by LEOs and their keepers.

  23. #23 |  Some other Guy | 

    Field tests are nothing more than chemical colorimetric tests for typical functional groups found on certain drugs (but also on many other compounds). They are the same colorimetric test many of you did in high school chemistry class. How they can hold a man in jail for 3 months with a high school chemistry experiment blows my mind.

  24. #24 |  Ben | 

    And who received the money when they auctioned his car? I wonder if they made enough to cover his 3 month incarceration with enough left over to replace the used drug testing kit.

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 

    scott

    I think you covered it.

    Unless Mr. May’s dog was in the car.

  26. #26 |  R. Pointer | 

    Can someone please explain to me why they get to auction the car before he is proven guilty? How does that stand up to court scrutiny?

  27. #27 |  Kristen | 

    The…..errrr…. “justice” system in this country is the perfect scenario for the government – they can lock up anyone for no reason and if doesn’t work out (i.e. they can’t get a conviction) they can just say “oopsie!” and all is well. The uneducated will continue to think the police can do no wrong, and the liberal elites will continue to think the police should be the only ones who should be allowed to have guns. Damn, it’s great to be Big Brother!

  28. #28 |  MacGregory | 

    #16 |  Some Guy
    “The Kissimmee Police Department is supporting the Florida Blood Centers current blood drive challenge Battle of the Badges.”

    Well, how noble of the king’s men. I think the legislature should join them in this cause since, together, they are the source of so much bloodshed.

  29. #29 |  JS | 

    No trial to determine guilt or innocence they just auction off his car. But hey, its all good ’cause we live in the freeest country in the world. Cue Toby Keith.

  30. #30 |  Waste | 

    The field tests I don’t think are allowed as evidence in court. In the report the results are usually refered to as ‘presumptive positive result’. Bascially it give the officer PC (probable cause) for the arrest. It still needs to be tested at a lab. However the field test should have been introduced into evidence at the PD as part of the case. If the person waited four years before filing the lawsuit the PD may have tossed it out when the case was cleared.

    This is still an egregious case and best of luck to the plantiff in the suit. The PD and the prosecutor should both know that the field tests are just presumptive, not definitive. He shouldn’t have sat for three months in jail based on that alone nor the vehicle sold prior to the conclussion of the case. As for the officer possibly lying. That is why there should be audio/video of the encounter. It protects both the officer and the person being stopped.

  31. #31 |  Matt D | 

    As for the officer possibly lying. That is why there should be audio/video of the encounter. It protects both the officer and the person being stopped.

    Agreed. It sounds rather big-brotherish but I tend to think there should be mandatory a/v records of any and all contact between LEOs and civilians, installed and administered by an independent civilian agency. Likewise, I think the DOJ should maintain a dedicated division for investigating civil rights violations by state and local officers. The feds have their own fuckups of course, but this seems like an area where enhanced federal scrutiny is warranted.

  32. #32 |  JS | 

    Matt D “I think the DOJ should maintain a dedicated division for investigating civil rights violations by state and local officers.”

    hahahahaha…oh, you were serious? Sorry.

  33. #33 |  Tim C | 

    JS: “hahahahaha…oh, you were serious? Sorry.”

    HA HA HA!!! Excellent. “The DOJ…” WHAT THE FE_)(^#@)%(*^#!!!!!!!

  34. #34 |  Fluffy | 

    The field tests probably aren’t allowed in court, that’s why it was (finally) sent to the state lab for testing. Police *do* need *reliable* field tests so they can easily tell if someone has crack or bubble gum, to establish probable cause. There’s a different level needed for court, but it should be even higher yet than it is.

    To me then it becomes a question of bail.

    If the field tests are not sufficiently rigorous to be offered as evidence at trial, a defendant should not be required to post bail based on the field test.

    “Maybe we might have some evidence of a crime three months from now,” should not sustain a prosecutorial bail demand. Regardless of the defendant’s personal or criminal history. This guy should have been released on his own recognizance.

    With regard to the car, I’m sure they’ll say that they auctioned it because it went unclaimed at impound. Unclaimed by the guy they were holding with an excessive bail demand and no trial-worthy evidence of wrongdoing.

  35. #35 |  Danno49 | 

    Mother. Fuckers. Must. Pay.

  36. #36 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    In addition to suing the PD, he should be suing the “test kit” as well.
    Utter freaking nonsense.
    Fuck.

  37. #37 |  max | 

    There would have been a faster test to confirm if it were not a sure thing case. If May had not waived his Miranda rights and told Officer Rice that he was chewing cocaine then there would have been more urgency to test the sample. The state of Florida should in fact be commended for so quickly performing a confirming test, there is no urgency to confirm when the arrested person has admitted the substance is illegal. His 3 months and all following are his own fault for lying to Officer Rice, indeed it was generous of the state of Florida did not go after May for obstruction of justice for telling Officer Rice that his breath mints were cocaine. May should count himself lucky to have only spent 3 months in jail considering the waste of resources he put the state of Florida to by lying to Officer Rice (the true victims here).

    /sarcasm

  38. #38 |  something in Latin | 

    Hypothetically, if you pull someone over, they chew multiple crack rocks, and you can’t determine their sobriety without a test, I think it’s only right to let him go free. Simply out of appreciation for his craft.

    Because that man is the goddamn Meryl Streep of drug addicts.

  39. #39 |  Matt D | 

    #32–

    I’m not sure why you think it’s so crazy. The civil rights division is already tasked with investigating local and state police misconduct. I’m just saying that we should ramp up that enforcement.

  40. #40 |  Marty | 

    #14 | Ginger Dan

    crack cocaine doesn’t smell- which is why it’s easy to do it while you’re on the job. BUT… I haven’t even seen crack cocaine in a long time- it’s really not a common drug right now…

    otherwise, I’m with Danno…

  41. #41 |  Tim C | 

    #38 siL – heh, yeah, you’d think his mouth would be so numb he couldn’t even talk without drooling all over the cop!

    (At least I’m assuming that crack works like every other member of the *caine family in the topical analgesic regard.)

  42. #42 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    #36…
    That’s test kit manufacturer…hard to type when you’re pissed.

  43. #43 |  Spleen | 

    Who chews crack anyways? I thought you were supposed to smoke it.

    Smoking kills, man.

  44. #44 |  Matt D | 

    Also, I think the civil rights division has a reputation among conservatives in particular of being this hotbed of liberalism and racialism. IIRC Bush effectively gutted it for that very reason. There’s a perception that civil rights violations are this thing that only happens to racial minorities, and consequently there’s actually a lot of hostility toward investigating them. A lot of people have this impression that civil rights claims are just a dodge employed by minorities to get themselves off the hook for wrongdoing. Obviously we know that’s not the case (not often, at least) and, likewise, know that these things don’t just happen to minorities either. So I think there’s an opportunity to get buy-in from both liberals and conservatives by boosting its efforts on civil rights violations in general.

  45. #45 |  Waste | 

    Mike,

    He may have a case against the kit manafacturer. However it would be interesting to see what kind of disclaimers they have on their kits. I would think (but don’t know) that their inaccuracies are well known and they would have some disclaimer stating that it can lead to false positives and that it is up to the investigating agency to to more complete tests to confirm. There were a large number of false positives during the Anthrax scare. Which is why they send the substance to be tested. The ‘evidence’ is sent snail mail and the reply is too. Usually to a larger agency such as the state. If they are back logged it could take awhile, though three months seems excessive.

    I would be interested to see what his bail was set at as it stated he couldn’t make bail. A high bail could be because of prior history or because of what he was charged with. Regardless if the only evidence was the breath mints that had not yet been positively ID’d he probably should have been released ‘pending charges’. But the laws in each state are different and can’t speak to how it works in FL.

  46. #46 |  Kino | 

    “The officer said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection.”

    and yet he pulled him over for a suspended tag. hmmm?

  47. #47 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I just can’t believe anyone would wantonly drive around town taunting police with a breath mint like that. And then he got off after only three stinkin’ months? If they hadn’t been is such a hurry to nab his ass, they should have put a tail on him to catch him distributing the stuff.

    In any case, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I bet the guy had a sneaky little side business selling breath mints. You can be sure if there was a school anywhere nearby that he was busily introducing children to breath mints, telling them it was crack and then raking in their lunch money when they developed a hardcore addiction. I’ll bet every stay-at-home mom in the neighborhood was trading sex for breath mints from this guy. You can be sure he’s responsible for a bunch of neglected kids. Fuckin’ disgraceful. Almost make you want to become a Republican so you can go get a gun and introduce these asshole pushers to real justice like Charles Bronson in Death Wish.

  48. #48 |  MDGuy | 

    #26 | R. Pointer | August 19th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Can someone please explain to me why they get to auction the car before he is proven guilty? How does that stand up to court scrutiny?

    Asset forfeiture.

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-179es.html

    If reading these police-abuse stories gets you pissed off, do some reading on the legal “arguments” underpinning civil asset forfeiture. Basically, the government levels a charge against your property, not you. In fact in many cases, the person whose property is stolen is never even charged with a crime. It’s up to you to prove to them that the property wasn’t used in the commission of a crime. If they’ve already relieved you of the means to mounting a defense, well, tough shit. Even if you manage to scrape together a defense, you’re left trying to prove a negative. Win-win for the government.

  49. #49 |  ShortWoman» Blog Archive » The Needs of the Many | 

    […] clothing so complicated you need a class or an expert to help you out; man’s life ruined over breath mints; too big to fail must die; famous last words, why oil won’t go back to $100/barrel; old […]

  50. #50 |  SusanK | 

    Another reason not to cooperate with cops – if he hadn’t spit out the mints to be field-tested, there wouldn’t have been any “proof” of crack – they would have had to do a blood test (if they could get a warrant for one) instead, which would probably have been more reliable and have prevented his lengthy incarceration.
    Plus, the destruction of evidence and contempt of cop charges would have disappeared after they State was unable to find cocaine in his system.

  51. #51 |  I Callahan | 

    Let me see if I’m following this right.

    Man gets pulled over after buying drugs. The man arrested says they were breath mints. A pro legalization group shares the results of a set of tests they commissioned themselves, proving that innocuous substances can sometimes show positive for drugs.

    And this means that the motorist is automatically in the clear, and that we should automatically be suspicious of the police? Doesn’t this seem a bit of a stretch?

    There is NO MENTION of the ACTUAL test results of these particular “breath mints”. The linked story completely neglected this key piece of evidence.

    Just because you want to believe the police are at fault and the man is innocent, it doesn’t make it so.

  52. #52 |  Radley Balko | 

    -1 for reading comprehension.

    He didn’t get out until he received a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office that test results showed no drugs were found.

    That’s not only from the linked article, it’s actually from the portion I excerpted.

  53. #53 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Interesting – I emailed Eric Rice at the U of Fl (mentioned above) to ask if he used to work at Kissimmee, and he said “no”. I’m wondering where this guy ran off to. May’s lawyers are wondering the same thing.

  54. #54 |  hamburglar007 | 

    It’s pretty easy to figure out the cop was full of shit. If the officer of the law actually suspected it was crack he just swallowed, it would have been off to the hospital. Mind you not out of concern for the suspect’s safety (despite what they might claim in situations like this), but they don’t want to lose that evidence.

  55. #55 |  JS | 

    Matt D “#32–
    I’m not sure why you think it’s so crazy. The civil rights division is already tasked with investigating local and state police misconduct. I’m just saying that we should ramp up that enforcement.”

    I wasn’t making fun of you brother, I totally agree that we should, I was laughing at the idea of anyone in our government actually being willing to do so.

  56. #56 |  max | 

    One problem with suing the test kit manufacturer is that it is about as likely that a properly used test kit would produce a false positive from breath mints as it was that May would mistake his breath mints (actually Chiclets TM) for crack.

    If we are to believe Officer Rice’s affidavits the scenario is that May bought them thinking they were crack cocaine, when pulled over for his expired registration attempted to swallow the fake crack, May waived his Miranda rights and admitted what he had in his mouth (he thought) was crack,then Officer Rice tested the one portion of the fake crack which would test positive in a field testing unit, none of the remaining fake crack was identifiable in a lab as having cocaine. Not entirely impossible but so improbable that I’ll bet the Cubs win the world series before that set of circumstances repeats.

  57. #57 |  OneByTheCee | 

    #6 | Michael Chaney
    #16 | Some Guy
    #19 | Dr X

    I too, went to the Kissimee PD FaceBook link and I found this:

    Kissimmee Police Department: Kissimmee Police Participate in “Operation Chill”

    “Operation Chill® was developed by 7-Eleven to positively reward and encourage good behavior by kids during the hot summer months … explains department spokesperson, Stacie Miller, “our officers use the Slurpee® coupons as an ice breaker with kids… Each officer has different ways for the children to earn Slurpee® coupons. Some will give a child a coupon for wearing their bicycle helmet or for answering a safety related question correctly.” OR: “Others require the children to bring them their report cards, or to see a passing grade on a test when school is in session.”
    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=118811765699&ref=mf

    How many parents out there, would approve of your children showing their report card to some stranger cop for anything?

    Operation Chill(ing) is more appropriate.

  58. #58 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    Could it be that these ‘field tests’ for drugs are simply pure bullshit and exist only to provide a cop with an excuse to run someone in?

    Could such a thing happen in America?

    Maybe. I seem to recall that the Breathalyzer has been proven to be less than infallible.

  59. #59 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #58 Steamed McQueen

    Could it be that these ‘field tests’ for drugs are simply pure bullshit and exist only to provide a cop with an excuse to run someone in?

    Yeah, for times when their lyin’ drug sniffing dog is unavailable.

  60. #60 |  sam | 

    For some reason, this fiasco reminds me of something I heard years ago (in the late 60s). Seems these two LA County Sheriff narcs were detailed to go undercover on the Sunset Strip. They dressed in what they thought was the appropriate attire to blend in with the hippies. Needless to say, their outfits were pretty lame. So there they are, dressed in some caricature of hipness, moving through the hirsute throngs trying to arrange a drug deal. The kids twigged instantly to the undercover bullshit and shied away from them. The sheriffs did get busted by the LAPD, however.

  61. #61 |  Mike | 

    The even wierder thing to me is the civil lawsuit states it was bubble gum NOT a breath mint that was confiscated.

    I could possibly see a breath mint (an altoid most likely) being confused for crack without any testing. But gum? Now perhaps my inexperience with crack is showing here but I’m pretty sure crack isn’t chewy/squishy

  62. #62 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    So in the new USSA, having a government job is one of the safest and best careers. But, providing shit that don’t work to the government is still pretty darn good too.

  63. #63 |  seeker6079 | 

    “Could it be that these ‘field tests’ for drugs are simply pure bullshit and exist only to provide a cop with an excuse to run someone in?”

    Yes.

    This has been Simple Answers to Straightforward Questions. Thanks for tuning in, and see you next time!

    And, lord, there will definitely be a next time.

  64. #64 |  seeker6079 | 

    The commenters upthread which discussed the civil rights division and conservatives forgot one key thing:
    Authoritarian conservatives hate the very idea of enforceable civil rights, period. The colour of the person is often secondary to them, because the very concept of “citizen” (with its pile of rights and freedoms) is odious to them and detrimental to their objectives.

    It’s one of the interesting things, viewed from the outside. When liberals get pushy with the power of the state it’s generally on matters of economic freedom: citizen loses right A to do thing B with property C. When conservatives get pushy with the power of the state it’s on the mores serious matters of social freedom and, under the Bushies, freedom itself.

  65. #65 |  Jim Collins | 

    Welcome to the world of criminal science. Drug tests that give false positives are the norm. I recall reading that in Austrailia a few years ago a man being charged with DUI stated in court that the breathalyzer test he was given gave a false positive because of an ice cream sundie that he ate prior to the test. The Judge made the Police bring in the exact breathalyzer that he was tested with. The man brought in the same ice cream sundie that he ate that day. They tested the man first and the reading was 0.00. He ate the sundie and waited 1/2 hour and then was retested. He blew a 0.10. The Judge dismissed the case.

    It was mentioned here about filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug test. Good luck! I’ll bet that the small print on the instructions states that the test is only to be used to determine the presense of drugs, that a proper chemical analysis of the substance should be performed before making a final determination.

    Oh! By the way, there isn’t a breathalyzer out there that is warranted for detecting and measuring the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath.

  66. #66 |  Staatspolizei und Pfefferminz | ars libertatis | 

    […] Monate im Gefängnis gesessen, weil er ein Pfefferminzbonbon gekaut hat.1 Radley Balko – Man Gets Three Months for Possession of Breath Mints [↩] « Judge Napolitano über den Unterschied zwischen dem Staat und der […]

  67. #67 |  Open Thread « Drug WarRant | 

    […] gets three months in jail for possession of breath mints. Yeah, I’d sue, […]

  68. #68 |  nhop | 

    I saw this police report on their facebook page:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=8453868&id=121674115596&ref=mf

  69. #69 |  Rich Moore | 

    The filthy cop in this case is like most cops: They LIE all day long and expect to get away with it. The cop in this case did NOT do any tests…he just saw a quick bust and did not care if the substance was illegal or not. It got a citizen behind bars…and the scumbag cop gets a pat on his pock marked back for making a bust.

    The cop should be sued, indicted for false arrest and for lying on the report, and sent to prison for…oh, say, about 5 years…with the hardest cons there are. Maybe then the filth would see that we are not all going to accept being a victim of police misconduct.

    If cops were required to tell the truth, they would fall apart. They simply do not know how to uphold the law without dirty tricks and lies.

    If a cops mouth is open, he is lying. That is a given. Now, for justice, the cop should lose all he has….pension, home, savings…and sent to the big house as well. Then maybe, just maybe, other filthy lying cops would see that there ARE consequences for their evil deeds.

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