A Georgia woman is suing local officials after she was arrested on charges of drug trafficking and sent to jail on $1 million bond, only for testing to later support her claim that she didn’t have any drugs at all. Dasha Fincher‘s lawsuit alleges that a field test known for producing false positives misidentified her blue cotton candy for methamphetamine, landing her behind bars for months.
According to Fincher’s complaint, filed earlier this month in federal court, she was in the car on December 31, 2016 with her friend David Morris Jr., when they were pulled over by local authorities. According to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report obtained by local WMAZ, the car that Morris was driving had dark tinted windows, and both Morris and Fincher were found to have suspended licenses. At that point, the report says, they asked Fincher and Morris to step out of the car, which they did. The report says they both appeared nervous and that Fincher started shaking, but Fincher’s complaint disputes this. She claims she was calm the whole time, and that there is dashcam video that supports this.
Deputies then asked for permission to search the car, and Morris said yes, the report says. They recovered a bag with a blue substance by the floorboard that Fincher said was cotton candy, but a field test came back positive for meth. Both Morris and Fincher were arrested. Fincher was charged with Trafficking Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, and when she couldn’t pay the $1 million bond, she was kept in custody for more than three months.
During that time, the blue substance was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for testing, and it came back negative.
“The blue substance was, in fact, just cotton candy as Dasha Fincher had always insisted,” the complaint says, adding that the GBI confirmed this to reporters.
Fincher’s lawsuit alleges that the field test used by deputies Allen Henderson and Cody Maples is known to produce incorrect results, and that the deputies should have known this. The lawsuit also claims that the deputies were not properly trained to administer the test, and that Maples even “admitted in court that he had no training in drug recognition.”
During the three months it took for the GBI to test the substance, the lawsuit says, Fincher was deprived of proper medical treatment while in jail and missed the birth of her twin grandsons. The charges were finally dropped in April 2017, four weeks after the test results came back.
Law&Crime reached out to Monroe County for comment.
Fincher’s lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount that includes punitive damages and court costs.
[Image via WMAZ screengrab]