May 11, 2009
Specious Drug Tests Send Thousands to Jail
Pseudoscience and Wrongful Convictions in the War on Drugs
By JOHN KELLY
EXCERPT: In a 1983 law review article, Stephen G. Thompson observed that: "Modern criminal justice is premised upon the requirement that a criminal defendant be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before punishment be meted out. The standard of proof is severe; its severity is based upon a collective societal judgment that the risk of error be borne by the state. As fundamental and unquestionable as this principle may seem, it is frequently tested when the interests of society appear urgent, immediate, and identifiable. In these instances, society often creates policies and systems which threaten the presumption of innocence."
As a result of the perceived urgency of the Drug War, certain drug testing is a good example of the use of forensic evidence that in effect routinely deprives suspects and defendants of the presumption of innocence and results in wrongful prosecutions and convictions as well as unwarranted guilty pleas. The reason for this is that the most commonly used drug tests as now employed do not accurately reflect the true or actual identity of the evidentiary substance, i. e., they do not detect. They do not prove the presence of an illegal drug, certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt.
This article is excerpted from the forthcoming book: HOW TO OBTAIN A PRETRIAL DISMISSAL OF MARIJUANA CHARGES OR AN ACQUITTAL OR AN EXONERATION..
John Kelly is a former research scientist, a court certified expert, and first author with Phillip Wearne of Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Publishers interested in How to Obtain a Pretrial Clearance of Marijuana Charges or an Acquittal or an Exoneration can contact Kelly at: email@example.com.