Massachusetts Drug Evidence Scandal: State Chemist Tied to Over 24,000 Cases Lost by Majority of Defendants
May 13, 2016 06:32 AM EDT
The American Civil Liberties Union estimated over 24,000 cases were "likely affected" on the Massachusetts drug evidence scandal. The incident happened four years ago, which led to the conviction of a former drug lab chemist.
Annie Dookhan worked for the state for 10 years and was prosecuted following her involvement over the drug testing evidence, Boston Globereported. According to ACLU, the said numbers were from the informations provided by the prosecutors in the ongoing Supreme Judicial Court case.
The ACLU's legal director, Matthew Segal called to dismissed the cases that linked Dookhan from the other convicted defendants, based on the test evidence conducted by Dookhan. "Over the last decade, Massachusetts has convicted thousands and thousands of people of drug crimes based on tainted evidence. Those people deserve justice," Segal said.
Dookhan was arrested was arrested in 2011, however, according to ACLU, majority of the defendants involved on the case tiedto her were yet to be informed officially or even granted legal representation to challenge to appeal on their covictions, WPRI.com reported." It has taken five years and a lawsuit just to get a list of Dookhan's cases," Segal added.
Dookhan, who was a former chemist in the Department of Public Health-run laboratory, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and filing false reports and was sentenced in 2013, to three to five years in prison. She was released on parole this year, OA Online reported.
According to a spokesperson for Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, their office has list of "names, names, docket numbers and dispositions for affected Dookhan cases its jurisdiction over a year ago," and it was given to the court. The affected jurisdictions include, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex and Plymouth counties.
The ACLU's announcement came a week after a review by Attorney General Maura Healey found that a state chemist at an Amherst drug lab got high on drugs almost every day at work for nearly eight years, compromising evidence testing at that lab also.