MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Brickbat: Say Your Prayers and Take Your Vitamins

VitaminsPuhhha / Dreamstime.comRebecca Shaw spent five months in a Pasco County, Florida, jail after a field drug test mistakenly said that vitamins in her car were oxycodone. Shaw had run out of gas when a sheriff's deputy pulled up behind her. The deputy was apparently more interested in searching her car than helping her. It took five months for her husband could raise the money to bail her out and another seven months for the state crime lab to determine that the pills the deputy found were indeed vitamins.

Photo Credit: Puhhha / Dreamstime.com

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Rat on a train||

    Are the cops keeping the car?

  • Jerryskids||

    No, but the dead dog the deputy shot is still in the back seat.

  • SQRLSY One||

    March 10, 2018 02:22 PM copied over...

    Updated March 10, 2018 03:39 PM

    A Tampa Bay woman sat in jail for five months before she got vindication that the pills found in her car that she called vitamins were, indeed, vitamins.

    According to an ongoing Fox 13 news investigation on faulty field drug tests, Rebecca Shaw served five months in jail until her husband could pay her $5,000 bail. Another seven months passed before the state crime lab concluded its testing and confirmed the pills that were found in her car were not oxycodone but rather simple vitamins.

    Shaw's ordeal began in September 2015. She had run out of gas when a Pasco County Sheriff's Office deputy pulled up behind her car.

    The deputy, Shaw said, asked if he could search her car and she consented. He found some pills and asked what they were. She said vitamins.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "He said, 'They don't look like vitamins. They look like oxycodone,' " Shaw told Fox 13. A field drug test kit, used by law enforcement to detect illegal drugs, produced a positive result for oxycodone. "My heart just sank. I said, 'That's wrong,' " she recalled to Fox 13.

    Still, Shaw, who is now 33, was arrested and charged with trafficking oxycodone. The mother of four couldn't pay her bail and said she was stuck in jail for five months, the station reported.

    "It felt like my whole life was over. It was terrible. My kids were devastated," she told Fox 13.

    After her release, and the state crime lab's confirmation, the case against Shaw was dropped. She now has a new attorney.

    "He does the field drug test and because it tests positive, nothing else mattered. It didn't matter she had no prior record, it didn't matter she was out of gas," her attorney Patrick LeDuc said in the station's video report.

    "They're putting innocent people in jail and ruining people's lives," Shaw told Fox 13.

    A Pasco County Sheriff's representative was unavailable for comment.

    Two months before her arrest, Pasco County police records show that Shaw had been arrested and charged with domestic battery and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

    She was also arrested in June 2017 and charged with battery.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "...asked if he could search her car and she consented. "

    Why don't the pubic schools actually teach something USEFUL, like teaching stupid people this:

    "You do not have to give consent!!! WHY are the cops asking you for your consent, if they don't need your consent?!?!?"

  • sarcasmic||

    Doesn't matter. Denying consent just means they'll bring in a dog to manufacture probable cause, or they'll just do the search anyway and claim that consent was given. Once they decide they want to search they're going to do the search.

  • Conchfritters||

    Exactly. They would just say "I smelled weed" and then do whatever the fuck they want.

  • Zeb||

    I know of a few cases where people have successfully declined to be searched by the police. So it's not completely hopeless.

  • Vernon Depner||

    I have successfully declined searches of my car. It can work.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I'd take it a step further. Every one of us has a video recording device in our pocket. Any encounter with a cop should begin with you politely informing him/her that you will be recording the encounter, and then pulling out your cell phone.

  • sarcasmic||

    Any encounter with a cop should begin with you politely informing him/her that you will be recording the encounter, and then pulling out your cell phone.

    One of three things will happen. The cop will actually follow the law and allow you to record. The cop will lie and tell you it's against the law, and arrest you if you try. Or the cop will claim they saw a gun after they shoot you dead for pulling something out of your pocket.

  • Conchfritters||

    Or the cop will claim they saw a gun after they shoot you dead for pulling something out of your pocket.

    Also known as the "Philando Castile" defense in the police union.

  • croaker||

    You pull a cell phone, cop pulls a gun.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Two months before her arrest, Pasco County police records show that Shaw had been arrested and charged with domestic battery and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

    She was also arrested in June 2017 and charged with battery.

    No prior record?

    Here is my hypothesis. There was oxy on the tablets but not in them.

    Husband let her rot in jail because she is a mean bitch who deals oxy in front of the kids. Otherwise he could have spent $500 with a bail bondsman.

  • Zeb||

    That's a lot of assumptions.

    These field tests seem to return a lot of false positives. And if there was really oxycodone on the tablets, the real testing lab would have seen it too.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Yes, field tests are very unreliable.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    As long as they don't result in false negatives, the cops see field tests as being VERY RELIABLE.

  • Seamus||

    "Two months before her arrest, Pasco County police records show that Shaw had been arrested and charged with domestic battery "

    I'm sure this had nothing to do with how slow her husband was to rustle up the money to bail her out.

  • BillEverman||

    Nice how the article ends with:

    "Two months before her arrest, Pasco County police records show that Shaw had been arrested and charged with domestic battery and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia."

    "She was also arrested in June 2017 and charged with battery."

    You know what would actually be relevant? What's the record of screw-ups on the part of the nameless Pasco County deputy? And what other field drug test fails are on the record? Because her record of being charged with stuff is relevant to her ordeal, but incompetent deputies and lousy drug tests are all isolated incidents, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    Her record justifies the officer treating her as guilty until proven guilty instead of offering to help?

  • Zeb||

    No, I think he is saying that if they are going to mention her background and record for the story, they should also look into the background and record of the cop and of the test he used.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Pacific Rim" needed a sequel about as much as "Highlander" did.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "Pacific Rim" sounds like a bad porn movie out of California.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A Pasco County Sheriff's representative was unavailable for comment.

    Because it's just one vote lost. Maybe.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    From the article:

    The deputy, Shaw said, asked if he could search her car and she consented.

    Running out of gas? How suspicious! Sounds like probable cause for a search of the car. She was stupid to consent, of course.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    He was searching for a gas can.

    Had she not consented, I assume the drug sniffing dog would have been brought in and signaled by its controller to indicate drugs, thus giving cause.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Probably. Not consenting to a search of your car is certainly suspicious.

  • sarcasmic||

    Probably. Not consenting to a search of your car worshiping the police officer is certainly suspicious.

    Either you support the police in all things or you are a criminal. Choose one.

  • croaker||

    You misspelled "performing fellatio on the police officer".

  • ||

    No. "Not consenting to a search of your car" is asserting your rights.

    It probably won't stop you from having your car searched but it will cause the cop to jump through the hoops of trying to show probable cause to a judge. Nor all judges accept denial of consent as probable cause.

  • ||

    "Nor" should be "Not".

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Rebecca Shaw spent five months in a Pasco County, Florida, jail after a field drug test mistakenly said that vitamins in her car were oxycodone

    Strike 1

    Shaw had run out of gas when a sheriff's deputy pulled up behind her... the deputy was apparently more interested in searching her car than helping her

    Strike 2

    It took five months for her husband could raise the money to bail her out

    Aaand Strike 3. Whelp, that's it, folks. Everything is officially Nazis. Go now and panic in whatever manner seems best to you.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Strikes 2 and strikes 3 indicate that the victims of the highway robbers (robbers of your freedom, money,cars, etc.) were TOTALLY GUILTY, because the victims were POOR!!!

  • Rebel Scum||

    "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

  • sage||

    At least she wasn't black. He would have just shot her.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Is there still such a thing as false arrest and false imprisonment? I'm not usually a big fan of ambulance-chasing lawyers, but I hope she gets a real bastard of a lawyer who sued the shit out of everyone here: the sheriff's department, the deputy, the manufacturer of the crappy field testing kit, everyone.

    I know the local taxpayers will foot the bill for a settlement, but maybe if enough municipalities go broke from these kinds of suits, they will eventually wake up and rein in these fopls! Did it even occur to this man that he could have just opted to HELP a person in distress? Maybe radio AAA to bring her a can of gas? WTF is wrong with people who wear a uniform?

  • sarcasmic||

    Is there still such a thing as false arrest and false imprisonment?

    Nope. Only qualified immunity and department policy.

    Did it even occur to this man that he could have just opted to HELP a person in distress?

    Once he ran her plates and saw she had a record, helping her was the furthest thing from his mind. He had a criminal cornered, and now he was going to do all he could to ruin her life.

  • PaulTheBeav||

    We need to end the war on drugs. We should copy Portugul.

  • painkillersman||

    We are top suppliers Marijuana, pain pills, sex pills and anxiety meds available (we have meds like xanax, tramadol, percs, oxy, roxy, valium, actavis syrup, etc... +1 (724) 470-0553. Call: +1 (419) 299-6124
    Email Us Via : discreetsales2015(@)gmail.com

  • painkillersman||

    We are medicine suppliers (without Prescription) Base in USA & South Africa providing a convenient way for drugs without prescription to get to your door. We also provide a better channel for legal or non-legal cannabis patients to receive their medication without leaving their home or office. Be treated like a VIP!
    We are a trusted middle-man a drop shipper and suppliers of a wide range of Pharmaceutical Formulations specializing in Pain Killers, Anti Anxiety, Weight loss, Steroids, Marijuana HGH, ADHD & ED , Research Chemicals + more that 100 different medicines. These are sourced from reliable vendors that make sure that our product range is safe.

    CONTACT US
    Be treated like a VIP! +1 (724) 470-0553
    WhatsApp # only: + 15753835081
    S.A OFFICE
    Whatsapp Number: 0027642338548 / Call Tel: 0027642338548

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online