It’s Steroid Sunday here at Fightlinker as we look into the recent failed steroid appeal by Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante. The CSAC nabbed him for stanozolol after his May win over scumbag Mike Kyle and despite some very creative lawyering from steroid suspension lawyer to the superstars Howard Jacobs (the same guy who defended Bigfoot Silva and Sean Sherk), his one year suspension was upheld. Here’s the key part of Jacobs’ appeal:
The CSAC and the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory have reported that the sample at issue – CSAC 2639919/UCLA YID108 – was collected on May 18, 2012, at 5:26 pm. However, this is incorrect: the sample was actually collected on May 19, 2012, at approximately 4:00 p.m. The laboratory documentation does not mention anywhere that the sample was actually collected on May 19, 2012. Simply stated, there is a fatal defect in the chain of custody, such that the laboratory documents themselves cannot be relied upon.
Furthermore, the fatal chain of custody defect cannot be characterized as a technical or a paperwork violation. That is because the doping control officer started the sample collection process on May 18, 2012, and after determining that there was an insufficient volume of urine, directed that Mr. Custodio come back on May 19, 2012 to provide his urine sample. Rather than starting the sample collection over on May 19, 2012, the collector inexplicably poured out the urine collected on May 18, and used the same collection cup on May 19. While this may explain why the chain of custody documentation incorrectly states that the sample was collected on May 18, it also means that the collection cup used for the May 19 sample, which was the same cup used for the May 18 partial sample, was open and subject to possible tampering or contamination for a period of almost 24 hours. This means that the stanozolol metabolites that appeared in sample CSAC 2639919/UCLA YID108 could have come from anywhere.
Ah, a good ol fashioned chain of custody defense. And while I agree it’s pretty ridiculous that an inspector would mess things up by re-using a cup, there’s a pretty big leap from that to ‘the stanozolol could have come from anywhere!’ You can argue that shit in a courtroom and maybe even win but you’ll have trouble being taken seriously by anyone using common sense. I’m not really sure how the CSAC legally decided this obvious collection fuck-up was okay, but that’s what they did. Feijao’s year long suspension was upheld. Feijao’s manager Ed Soares expanded on their displeasure with the chain of command:
“I’m going to look into it,” said Soares. “In any court of law (this wouldn’t stand). They basically had the wrong date on the paperwork, they had the urine sample taken from the wrong location. [CSAC chief inspector] Che Guevara said that he threw away the urine sample on the 18th, which he didn’t. It was another guy. The guy lied under oath. Where does it begin? If we were in a court of law, that case would’ve been thrown out. In the chain of custody, how could you have the wrong date, the wrong place where you took the sample, and still consider it fine? That’s ridiculous.”
Soares has a point here – it’s the commission’s job to make sure the chain of custody stays above reproach, otherwise you get lawyers who specialize in this kind of thing poking holes in their case. Chalk it up as just another sign that the California State Athletic Commission is incompetent. You can’t even rely on them to handle urine properly any more.