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ACLU of Utah Addresses Due Process Concerns Over Drug Court's Testing Facilities

10 June 2002 Published in Legal Advocacy

The ACLU of Utah sends a letter to Governor Leavitt, as well as GRAMA requests to the 8th District Drug Court and Uintah County Jail, in order to address due process concerns posed by the drug court’s testing facilities.

Read the Letters Below >>

 

Due Process Concerns in our Drug Courts

 

June 10, 2002

Governor Michael Leavitt
Utah State Capitol
Salt Lake City, UT 84114

Dear Governor Leavitt,

The ACLU of Utah has received several serious complaints about the drug testing facility used by the Eighth District Drug Court in Uintah County. The complaints make several allegations, including cross contamination of specimen at the Uintah County Jail drug testing laboratory, refusal of the drug court to allow participants to pay for their own tests at independent laboratories, refusal to consider participants prescription medications and their effects on drug tests, and the refusal of the drug court to allow participants to challenge contested drug test results. If these allegations are true, the problems listed above are grave violations of the drug court participants Due Process rights.

Although the ACLU of Utah adamantly supports the drug court program, these potentially devastating violations of personal liberty must be addressed and corrected immediately. We urge you to take a hard look at this problem and delegate proper funding to the program in order to correct the inadequacies of the drug testing facilities used by the smaller drug courts in Utah. It was recently reported that the drug court program was allocated $500,000 in federal funding (See attached article). The ACLU of Utah requests that the majority of this funding go to correcting these systemic problems. If you have any questions about the ACLU of Utah’s concerns please contact my office.

Sincerely,

Janelle P. Eurick
Staff Attorney

_________________________

 

June 10, 2002

Mark Thomas
Administrator
Eighth District Drug Court
152 E. 100 N.
Vernal, Utah 84078

RE: Governmental Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA)

Dear Mr. Thomas,

The ACLU of Utah has been informed of several questionable situations regarding the accuracy of drug tests performed at the Uintah County Jail, pursuant to drug court rules and procedures that potentially raise serious constitutional violations of due process for those tested. In order to understand more about the complaints we have received naming the Eight District Drug Court and pursuant to the Utah Governmental Records Access and Management Act, Utah Code Ann. §§ 63-2-101 et seq., the ACLU of Utah requests the production of any procedures and or policies in existence prior to or on the date of this request regarding the administrative procedures required for drug testing of participants in the Eight District Drug Court, including, but not limited to:

The rules and guidelines for participants in the Eight District Drug Court Program (“Drug Court”), including applicable evidentiary and procedural rules
The rules and procedures for drug testing of participants in the Drug Court
The rules and procedures for retesting challenged drug test results
The rules and procedures allowing drug court participants to pay for their own drug tests in the case of a challenged drug test result
The rules and procedures for introducing contradicting drug tests into evidence
The names of facilities contracted with to conduct drug testing for the Drug Court
The rules and procedures followed for requesting that a drug test be performed by a different facility than the one who conducted the original testing
The rules and procedures regarding storage and transportation of participants drug test specimen
Any other documents, rules or procedures regarding the drug testing of participants in the Drug Court program.

If you have any questions about this request, please contact me. Please bill my office for any reasonable copying charge associated with providing the above information and documents.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Janelle Eurick
Staff Attorney
ACLU of Utah

Cc. Governor Michael Leavitt

_________________________

 

June 10, 2002

Corporal Denile Gale
Uintah County Jail
152 E. 100 N.
Vernal, Utah 84078

Joann Stringham
Uintah County Attorney
152 E. 100 N.
Vernal, Utah 84078

RE: Governmental Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA)

Dear Ms. Stringham and Mr. Gale,

The ACLU of Utah has been informed of several questionable situations regarding the accuracy of drug tests performed at your facility, potentially raising serious constitutional violations of due process for those tested. In order to understand more about the complaints we have received naming your facility and pursuant to the Utah Governmental Records Access and Management Act, Utah Code Ann. §§ 63-2-101 et seq., the ACLU of Utah requests the production of any procedures and or policies in existence prior to or on the date of this request regarding the collection, handling, storage and methods of testing specimen in your laboratory, including, but not limited to:

Procedures used for handling and processing specimen collected for drug testing
Procedures for introducing control samples
Chain of custody procedures for the tested specimen, including procedures used to prevent cross contamination of specimen
Storage procedures for specimen including policies on retaining specimen for future testing in the case of a false positive/ challenged test result
Procedures for re-testing a specimen when the result is contested
Contract or other documents authorizing your laboratory to conduct testing for the Eighth District Drug Court
Any documents from the Eighth District Drug Court to your office mandating rules, policies, or procedures to be followed while testing drug court participants
Names and locations of any other laboratories you submit tests to on a contractual basis
Procedures for sending contested test results to another facility for testing

If you have any questions about this request, please contact me. Please bill my office for any reasonable copying charge associated with providing the above information and documents.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Janelle Eurick
Staff Attorney
ACLU of Utah

Cc. Governor Michael Leavitt