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Urine Sale Case Goes Before Justices

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COLUMBIA - Kenneth Curtis wants the state Supreme Court to decide he had no
intent to help people defraud drug tests when he sold kits containing his

The high court heard arguments Tuesday in Curtis' appeal of his six-month
sentence and conviction for selling his urine.

Prosecutors say Curtis knew the law and broke it when he sold urine and a
kit containing a heat pack, tape and tubing so it appears a user is giving
his own sample during a drug test.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Norman Rapoport told the court that the
law requires the prosecution to prove the intent of the seller -- not the
buyer. In Curtis' case, the urine was sold to an undercover agent for the
State Law Enforcement Division.

But, Curtis' attorney said, he never intended to help anyone commit fraud.

"Anytime someone said I want to buy one of your tests to defraud a test for
illegal drugs, he said, `I'm not going to sell it,' " said Curtis' lawyer,
Rauch Wise.

Curtis said there is no credible evidence that anyone bought his product to
defraud a test for illegal drug use. Curtis said he was trying to help
people protect their privacy.

Wise told the court drug tests could give an employer a lot of private
information about an employee -- including whether he or she used legal or
prescribed drugs.

He said a man taking a drug for impotence, for example, might not want his
employer to know that information, which has nothing to do with his job

Chief Justice Jean Toal asked Rapoport if taking drug tests was an invasion
of privacy. He said he did not think so.

She told him his indictment was vague and did not clearly state illegal
drugs. Rapoport responded that if the legislature had meant to limit the law
to illegal drugs, they would have done that.

When senators were debating the law, Curtis said he asked them to make it
illegal for employers to disseminate information gained from a urine test.
"They refused and I had no other choice but to continue my business in order
to make my point," he said.

Wise says he expects a ruling on the appeal within 60 days.

Pubdate: Thu, 23 Oct 2003
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2003 The Charlotte Observer
Contact: opinion@charlotteobserver.com
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