Prosecutors move to toss more than 21000 tainted drug cases

Hinton State Laboratory Institute

Hinton State Laboratory Institute

"Annie Dookhan, the "rogue" chemist at the center of this debacle, was free to falsify drug lab results for eight full years because the system is created to facilitate convictions, while simultaneously being utterly ill-equipped to either provide equal justice to defendants or restore justice to the wrongfully convicted".

State district attorneys in seven MA counties on Tuesday were filing lists of drug cases they plan not to prosecute as a result of Dookhan's falsification and fabrication of evidence.

The state Supreme Judicial Court had ordered district attorneys in eastern MA to produce lists by the end of Tuesday indicating how numerous approximately 24,000 involving Annie Dookhan they'd be unwilling or unable to prosecute if new trials were ordered.

Dookhan worked on testing drug samples submitted by law enforcement agencies from 2003 until 2012, when investigators accused her of contaminating drug samples, falsifying results and mishandling evidence.

The ACLU of MA went through the lists Tuesday night and found that 21,587 cases (almost all of them) had been recommended for dismissal.

Prosecutors dispute that, saying the reason it has taken several court fights to get to this point is because defense attorneys were not willing to compromise. Conley's statement also said numerous dismissals involved people with significant criminal histories and convictions based on more than Dookhan's drug tests alone.

Anthony Benedetti, chief counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, said some of the defendants lost their jobs or homes, and some have been deported. The court is expected to issue an order of dismissal this week. In its Twitter posting, the ACLU tracked criminal cases as opposed to convictions on individual charges. The remaining cases, he said, involve people with a history of violent crime and probation violations.

The most cases were in Suffolk County, where Boston is located.

BECKER: The district attorney for Cape Cod and the Islands, Michael O'Keefe, says his office will dismiss about 1,000 cases, half of which he says are minor. Prosecutors have until mid-May to send notice to those whose convictions were not overturned - in about 320 cases - so that those defendants can decide whether to request a new trial. Many of them are eager to find out what will happen with their case. So the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state's highest court came up with a solution, after declaring Dookhan's deeds "government misconduct that has cast a shadow over the entire criminal justice system". Angel says that felony drug conviction has affected him in ways beyond prison.

Dookhan herself was released from prison last April after serving about two and a half years of of her three- to five-year sentence.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III, from south of Boston, said that he would pursue 112 of more than 1,500 cases in which drugs were analyzed by Dookhan.

"But that is a outcome of egregious government misconduct that affected more than 20,000 defendants", Gants wrote. He learned earlier this year that some of his samples had crossed Dookhan's bench. "It is a long time coming after four years of incredible work by CPCS, the ACLU and private attorneys".

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