Thursday, October 2, 2014

America's Failed Drug War: Georgia Woman Jailed for SpaghettiOs

In another tale of bogus meth madness, Georgia cops arrested and jailed a 23 year old woman because of a suspicion that a residue coated spoon in her car was evidence that she was a drug user. Ashley Gabrielle Huff of Commerce, GA was arrested by Gainesville City police officers during a routine traffic stop after one of the deputy dawgs overreacted in misidentifying the substance on the eating utensil. She was arrested, jailed and then ordered to attend mandatory drug counseling sessions. When she missed a session she was re-arrested and kept in jail for well over a month until the authorities had their Uh Oh SpaghettiOs moment leading to much embarrassment and a likely lawsuit.

Even though the suspected methamphetamine turned out to be one of America's most popular cheap food items, Huff was subjected to a nightmare of legal purgatory of the type that has become commonplace in this once great country. An innocent woman with no criminal record ended up stuck in in jail until  the inept and slower than a glacier crime lab discovered that the mistaken "schedule II substance" was actually dried tomato sauce from a can of Campbell's wonderful pasta treat.

According to the website Police State USA in a story entitled "Woman arrested for possessing spoon covered with dried Spaghettios":

An innocent woman had several months of her life destroyed when she was arrested and charged with a felony because of a spaghetti-encrusted spoon found in her possession.

Ashley Gabrielle Huff, 23, had no criminal history and insisted that “there’s no way in hell” that there could have been any drugs in her possession during a traffic stop in July. Nonetheless, a Gainesville police officer honed in on a spoon that was “on her or near her” in the vehicle in which she was riding as a passenger.

Suspecting that the spoon had drug residue on it, the officer arrested Ms. Huff and charged her with possession of methamphetamines. Even for trace amounts, the charge of possessing “Schedule II substances” Georgia is punishable by 2-15 years in prison.

After her July 2nd arrest, she spend an unconfirmed number of days in jail before she was released and required to attend a number of obligatory drug appointments. When she was unable to make all the appointments, she was rearrested and made to sit in jail from August 2nd until September 18th.

Ms. Huff insisted that she wasn’t a drug user, but had little means with which to defend herself. She relied on a public defender to represent her in court.

Finally in late September, a crime lab analysis revealed that the “residue” on the spoon was not an illegal drug. It was actually tomato sauce from a can of SpaghettiOs, as the woman had claimed all along.

The internet is replete with tales of cops abusing their power in perverse and violent ways these days but the Georgia incident is just rank stupidity as well as an example of Barney Fife style hayseeds who do not belong in the law enforcement profession.

The drug charges against Huff were dismissed according to the story "Meth charge dropped after only spaghetti sauce found on spoon" from the website of The Gainesville Times:

Drug charges have been dropped against a Commerce woman after crime lab analysis confirmed her claim that a spoon she had in a vehicle leading to her arrest did not contain methamphetamine residue but spaghetti sauce.

Ashley Gabrielle Huff, 23, initially was charged with possession of methamphetamine. She maintained the residue on a spoon was spaghetti sauce, not meth.

After the analysis agreed, the charge was dismissed. She was released from the Hall County Jail on Thursday night.

“I think she said it had been SpaghettiOs,” Hall County assistant public defender Chris van Rossem said.

Huff was arrested July 2 by the Gainesville Police Department, suspected of having meth residue on a spoon, van Rossem said.

“From what I understand, she was a passenger in a car and had a spoon on her, near her, and I guess the officer, for whatever reason, thought there was some residue,” he said.

According to the Hall County Comprehensive Justice Information System, Huff had not been charged with any type of felony or drug-related offense prior to the incident.

“She’s maintained all along that there’s no way in hell that’s any sort of drug residue or anything like that,” van Rossem said.

Attempts to obtain the original arrest report from the Gainesville Police were unsuccessful, and van Rossem was unfamiliar with other details related to the arrest. Gainesville Police spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said the department would defer to the district attorney’s office.

The story also stated that Huff was to have begun  the "process of a plea deal" which speaks to the rampant form of systemic prosecutorial misconduct that is an offshoot of our vast national for profit prison gulag. Chalk up yet another example of the abysmal failure of the war on drugs. The tale of Huff's bogus arrest and imprisonment is now a national story and will hopefully result in the type of shaming that leads to firings of local officials.

You just can't make shit like this up.