U.S.

Cotton Candy or Meth? Woman Claims Drug Test Confused Dessert With Drug, Spent Months in Jail

A woman filed a lawsuit against Georgia police officers after she spent time in jail for being in possession of methamphetamine, which later turned out to be cotton candy, as she said it was.

The lawsuit, which Dasha Fincher filed on Thursday in Georgia district court, called her arrest “wrongful, unlawful and false” and her imprisonment a violation of her Fourth Amendment right. The civil action against the Monroe County Board of Commissioners and Monroe County Police Officers Cody Maples and Allen Henderson came almost two years after Fincher’s arrest.

On December 31, 2016, Henderson and Maples pulled over a car that Fincher was a passenger in on the belief that the window tint was too dark. However, after further inspection, officers found that the window tint did not violate the law. Maples and Henderson searched the interior of the vehicle “extensively,” according to the lawsuit, and found a clear plastic bag that contained a light blue substance.

Fincher and the driver allegedly told officers that the substance they found was just cotton candy, but the blue substance tested positive for methamphetamine. However, the lawsuit argued that the methamphetamine field test kit, made by the Sirchie Acquisition Company, that was used “has a history of producing false positive results.”

Both Fincher and the driver were arrested for possession of methamphetamine and Fincher was ultimately charged with trafficking methamphetamine and possession of the drug with intent to distribute. 

She claimed to be innocent and said the blue substance was cotton candy, according to the lawsuit, but could not pay the $1,000,000 cash bond ordered by the judge and was incarcerated. The substance was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) for further testing, which found there was no controlled substance in the blue substance on March 22, 2017. The GBI report identified the substance as cotton candy. Newsweek reached out to the Monroe County Board of Commissioners but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

cotton candy meth A vendor sells cotton candy during the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners game at Nationals Park on June 23, 2011, in Washington, D.C. On Thursday, a Georgia woman filed a lawsuit after she was incarcerated for three months for being in possession of cotton candy that falsely tested positive for meth. Rob Carr/Getty Images

“Dasha Fincher’s three month incarceration was solely due to the incorrect test results Defendants Maples and Henderson reported from Defendant Sirchie’s roadside test,” the lawsuit stated. “Dasha Fincher spent more than three months in jail, missing several major life events and suffering great losses.”

Among the events that the lawsuit claimed Fincher missed and the suffering she endured due to her incarceration were:

  • The birth of her twin grandsons
  • Consoling her daughter when she miscarried
  • A lack of proper medical attention for a hand injury
  • A lack of proper medical attention for an ovarian cyst

Fincher remained incarcerated from January 11, 2017, until April 4, 2017, and on April 18, 2017, the charges against her were dismissed, although the arrest remains on her record, according to the lawsuit.  

The lawsuit claimed Fincher’s Fourth Amendment rights were repeatedly violated during the events surrounding her arrest and incarceration, including when an arrest warrant was sworn out after the arrest was made and without probable cause and relying on a flawed roadside drug test. Along with the actions of Maples and Henderson, the lawsuit argued that Monroe County was liable for damages because it did not properly train the officers.

“Given the totality of the available information, Defendants Maples, Henderson and/or Monroe County had no rational basis, much less probable cause, to arrest and incarcerate Dasha Fincher for more than three months,” the lawsuit stated.

After enduring the experience, Fincher’s lawsuit requested equitable relief, monetary damages and attorney’s fees and costs. The lawsuit asked for a trial by jury. 

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