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Massachusetts SJC outlines process for dealing with Annie Dookhan Drug lab scandal

Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court addressed a plan to handle the numerous potentially-tainted drug cases that are a result of Annie Dookhans mishandling of evidence. Originally, there were several indications that the criminal justice system would adopt a blanket approach to handling the cases; many people called for complete and utter dismissal of all convictions tied to Annie. However, the Supreme Judicial Court ultimately declined this method, and outlined a process to put the scandal in the past.

Massachusetts District Attorneys are going to have the responsibility of sorting through and dismissing any cases that would not be able to be re-prosecuted in a court of law. In accordance, District attorneys across the state will have 90 days to accomplish this task, and notably have to follow a three-step process in doing so; defendants whose cases would not be dropped will be alerted, and will have an opportunity to obtain counsel if they want to dismiss their plea or request a new trial. If you want to stay informed make sure to read the latest news on the Annie Dookan case at the Bostonherald.com.

Dookhan was a chemist at a Boston Laboratory utilized frequently by the Massachusetts State Police, the Hinton State Laboratory Institute; where she was eventually caught and admitted to faking drug results, forging paperwork and mixing false samples. There are allegedly more than 24,000 defendants that, through a process, have been linked to Dookhan.

In the 9 years Dookhan worked at the lab, it is suspected that she had in her possession and tested over 60,000 drug samples- ultimately leading to the realization that 1,140 inmates were convicted using this evidence. In 2012, CBS news reported that Dookhan was the primary or second chemist in all of the 1,140 inmates that are currently behind bars; follow this link to read a full article written by CBS News. This inherently causes major issues for the criminal justice system, defense attorneys, and prosecutors alike. What this essentially means for the criminal justice system is that there are many individuals behind bars that were convicted using what is now considered to be tainted evidence. The laboratory has since shut down as a result of Dookhans actions, and there are several once-drug defendants back out on the streets.


If you have questions about an OUI drug case feel free to contact and speak with Attorney DelSignore at (781) 686-5924.

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