At least 21,587 drug cases will be dismissed because of the broad and blatant criminal misconduct of a Department of Public Health lab chemist.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Annie Dookhan worked for the state in the Hinton lab from 2003 to 2012 testing drug samples submitted by cops, when she was accused of contaminating and falsifying results.
Dookhan admitted to intentionally contaminating samples in order to turn them positive, and also confessed to “dry labbing,” a process by which she provided fictional positive results for some samples instead of actually testing them.
The state spent 10’s of millions of dollars reviewing the drug cases. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in January that the process was too time consuming and ordered district attorneys to produce a list of drug cases they planned to dismiss and which ones they planned to re-prosecute.
“Because this misconduct was allowed to go on for so many years… people have already served their sentences and have been living with the collateral consequences of those sentences,” Segal said. “We hope… as a result of these dismissals… people… move on with their lives, to rebuild… from these convictions.”
In what may be the single largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in U.S. history, Massachusetts prosecutors announced Tuesday they would throw out 21,587 criminal drug cases. The cases were all prosecuted based on evidence or testimony supplied by a former state chemist who admitted to faking tests and identifying evidence as illegal narcotics without even testing it.
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