From the Perspective of a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer, Anyone at all Impacted by the Drug Lab Scandal Should be Released From Custody
The recent Massachusetts drug lab scandal is proof positive that in Massachusetts there is always hope no matter how serious the crime. Whether you have been convicted or charged with any of the Drug Crimes in Massachusetts you should hire an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer. A good lawyer can always help you no matter how serious the crime for which you have been charged or for which you have been convicted. As proof, just take a look at what is going on in Massachusetts right now.
Thirty four year old Annie Dookhan of Franklin, Massachusetts worked for nine years at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston. It is alleged that Dookhan provided false test results for a two to three year period. In some instances, Dookhan never even tested the substance. Dookhan has admitted to forging a colleague's initials and converting negative tests to positive tests. According to reports, Dookhan's work had an impact on thirty four thousand defendants. She allegedly tested over sixty thousand drug samples and it is estimated that around one thousand one hundred inmates are involved in cases where Dookhan was the state's primary or secondary chemist. Today, Dookhan was arraigned on two counts of Obstruction of Justice and a single count of pretending to hold a degree from a university. The matters are pending in the Boston Municipal Court.
One of the consequences of Dookhan's actions has been the release of prisoners from the county house of correction or state prison. About a week and a half ago a forty nine year old man was released from jail after being permitted to withdraw his guilty plea for a reduced Massachusetts Oxycontin Trafficking charge. That case, a Norfolk County Drug Case is believed to be the first in which someone effected by Dookhan's actions has been released. Many more have followed. Prosecutors in some counties have taken the approach that any case involving Dookhan is tainted and warrants a new trial at a minimum. People involved in many these cases have been released for custody. In other counties prosecutors are scrutinizing each case individually. One district attorney's office has taken the position that anyone who has entered a plea bargain and benefited by a reduced sentence or charge is not entitled to a new trial or withdrawal of his or her guilty plea even if Dookhan was involved in analyzing the drugs. Our office has taken to position that regardless, the constitutionality of the conviction should be challenged. At a minimum a motion to stay the sentence and for the release on bail should be awarded until the prosecution is able to argue with certainty that the conviction is not tainted by Dookhan's actions.