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Oct. 1, 2014

The War on Drugs Takes on SpaghettiOs

The War on Drugs has long been a contentious issue, but a story out of Georgia illustrates just how out of hand the effort has become. Ashley Huff was jailed for over a month after police suspected her of possessing methamphetamine. Following an inspection by a crime lab, however, it was determined the “suspicious residue” found inside her car was not in fact a drug of any sort, rather spaghetti sauce from a can of SpaghettiOs. As Kate Scanlon of The Daily Signal notes, “Jordan Richardson, a visiting legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said police are within their rights to make an arrest when there is probable cause and that this case is no exception.” But, Richardson says, “The scary thing is that when she was confronted with jail and a fine, even though she turned out to be innocent, it was easier to take the punishment [from the plea deal].” What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? The problem of presuming criminal fault extends to other areas, like campus rape. But it now seems that proving innocence isn’t enough to stop abusive power. In addition to reforming the War on Drugs, officials would be wise to address legal system liabilities. More…

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