Testimony further erodes confidence in county drug tests

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HOUSTON – A second round of testimony in a downtown courtroom further called into question the validity of drug tests administered by the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, also known as the probation department. The hearing before Judge Denise Collins is raising troubling questions about how the department handles evidence and tracks the results of drug tests.

Perhaps the most stunning testimony came from Richard Youst. Last year, Youst pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated. Since this was Youst's first and only criminal offense, he was sentenced to twelve months of probation. Part of the requirements of Youst's probation was that he submit to random drug tests. Youst testified one month before his probation was set to end that he was informed his urine tested positive for cocaine.

"I've never done drugs in my life and I never will," Youst said following the conclusion of testimony.

Youst said no one believed him when he argued there must had been a mistake with the test result. Youst said his probation was revoked and he was ordered to spend ten days in the Harris County jail.

"It's been really tough," Youst said. "They don't know how hard it was, all the pain and suffering."

Youst said being sent to jail triggered even more hardships in his life.

"When I got locked up, I lost my license, I lost my job, I lost everything. And it's so hard to get a job these days without a valid ID," said Youst.

However, court testimony revealed Youst was telling the truth; his urine was clean.