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High court sides with cadet in Boston police drug test case

The examination of a person's hair for illicit substances is prone to false positives, the court ruled.

Editor’s note: In an Oct. 30 story about a Massachusetts court decision regarding a police cadet who was refused a job after he failed a drug test, The Associated Press erroneously reported the cadet’s race. He is white, not black. A corrected version of the story is below.

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts highest court has sided with a police cadet who was refused a job after he failed a hair follicle drug test.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 6-to-1 on Wednesday that Michael Gannon was wrongly denied employment by Boston police.

The ruling agreed with the Civil Service Commission that the examination of a person’s hair for illicit substances is prone to false positives and the department has offered insufficient evidence to disprove Gannon’s denial of drug use.

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The ruling comes after Gannon was first denied a job as a police officer in 2010. He had previously been a police cadet from 2007 to 2009 and passed the same tests.

The court also agreed Gannon should have the first spot the next time the department hires new officers.