A Georgia woman was held in jail for one month after cops mistook sauce from a can of SpaghettiOs for methamphetamine, the Gainesville Times reports.
Ashley Huff, a 23-year-old woman from the city of Commerce, was the passenger in a car that was pulled over on July 2. Police noticed she had a spoon in her bag that had “some residue” on it. Huff told them it was just SpaghettiO sauce, but they slapped her with a charge of possession of methamphetamine.
Huff was jailed for about two weeks, then released on her own recognizance, her attorney, Chris van Rossem, told The Huffington Post. However, one of the conditions of her release was that she would make a series of court appointments, and after she missed one, she was reincarcerated on August 2.
Unable to afford to pay bond, Huff stayed behind bars until September 18, when a lab analysis found that the substance on the spoon contained no illicit substances.
Van Rossem speculated that the reason the crime lab analysis took so long was simply because of the sheer volume of cases the lab needs to process. Huff’s results, he said, actually came back “relatively quickly.”
Even though Huff knew she was innocent, during the weeks she sat in jail she was strongly considering taking a plea deal — and a permanent criminal record — just so she could get out, Van Rossem told HuffPost.
“You just get worn out, your spirit gets worn down,” the attorney said. “You reach a point where you’ll do anything just to get out of jail.”
All charges against Huff have been dismissed.
She is now contemplating taking legal action, according to KRON 4, but police officers say they acted in good faith. The arresting officer said he “found it strange” that Huff would eat SpaghettiOs and put the spoon in her purse.
Her explanation is that she had been eating the SpaghettiOs out of the can in the car, and after she was finished, threw the can out and tossed the spoon into her bag.
Officers also say they conducted a field test, and the substance tested positive for methamphetamine. Field tests, however, can often be incorrect, as was evidenced in a 2013 case in which a white brick that field-tested positive for cocaine ended up just being homemade soap.