DRYWALL POWDER WRONGFULLY DETERMINED TO BE COCAINE BY FLAWED FIELD TEST
A Jacksonville.com story gives details into a tragic case in which an innocent man remained jailed for 90 days on suspicion of possession of cocaine. The case is out of Oviedo, Florida near Orlando. Karlos Cashe was pulled over by law enforcement for driving a motor vehicle without headlights. During the traffic stop the officers used a police K9 to conduct a sniff of the vehicle to determine the presence of any illegal narcotics in the vehicle. After a positive alert by the K9, a search took place in which a white powdery substance was recovered. Cashe informed the officers numerous times that the powdery substance was drywall. The officers however field tested the substance which tested positive for cocaine. The story also clearly points out that the officers ran the background of Cashe and saw that Cashe was currently on probation for possession of cocaine and cannabis. The officers knew any new arrest would suffice to violate Cashe’s probation.
Mr. Cashe was certainly at the mercy of system in his current arrest. The way the system is set up is how an innocent man was forced to sit for ninety days behind bars. When an individual is on probation and they violate their probation for what is considered a “new law violation,” they are not entitled to a bond. Often times their bond will in fact be set at none. In Cashe’s case he was forced to sit behind bars while the suspected cocaine was sent off to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Chemistry lab for analysis. Unfortunately for Mr. Cashe or anyone else in his situation, the labs typically are backed up due too under funding and the sheer number of cases they are assigned. As Cashe knew himself and tried to explain to the officers, the substance was not cocaine. This writer and many other defense attorneys are very skeptical of an officer stating that the drug dog “alerted” on the car. Here, for example, has the dog been trained to alert on drywall powder? If not, what was causing the dog to alert? Who knows if the dog alerted at all? Cashe most probably, based on this writer’s experience, aggravated the officers by not consenting to a search of his vehicle. If he had consented to a search, the drug dog and its handler would not have been called to the scene as they were not necessary.
HOW HE SAT IN JAIL 90 DAYS
So why did Cashe have to sit behind bars so long? Case law has long been established that field test kits for narcotics are allowed to be utilized to determine probable cause to arrest an individual. The simple fact that Cashe was on probation is why he was held with no bond. The obvious questions that this blogger has start with the date on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Chemistry report that exonerated Cashe. I am certainly curious to know how much longer did an innocent Mr. Cashe sit behind bars after the report was completed. Furthermore, how long was Mr. Cashe sitting behind bars before the suspected cocaine was even sent to the chemist? These are all questions that will likely be answered in a non- criminal courtroom. Continue reading