Boston, MA (TFC) – In a 5-year ongoing situation. Massachusetts Supreme Court ordered last Wednesday for local prosecutors to drop thousands of drug cases due to mishandling. Former state chemist Annie Dookhan is reported to have mishandled evidence in 24,000 drug convictions. Prompting statements, and the order from the justices.
The Boston Globe report highlights the statement made to district attorneys statewide;
“Exercise their prosecutorial discretion and reduce the number of relevant Dookhan defendants by moving to vacate and dismiss with prejudice all drug cases the district attorneys would not or could not reprosecute if a new trial were ordered.”
Meaning that prosecutors now have 90 days to comb through 24,000 cases, the majority of which are expected to be mishandled, and find the ones to throw out. The court also made it so that even cases that aren’t dismissed, the defendant will receive a letter stating that their case has been affected by the misconduct of Annie Dookhan. It was also noted, that 90 percent of the affected cases were handled in district courts, that handle less serious crime. In fact, the majority of the cases are simple possession charges. But unfortunately, “Virtually all of these defendants have already served the entirety of their sentence.” There is a strong likelihood that people will want their record expunged of a conviction based on mishandled evidence. If this were me, and I received such a letter, I would certainly request a new trial.
Dookhan, who admitted years ago about visually identifying samples from cases, without actually testing them. Was released over a year ago from prison after a more than 3 year’s incarceration, for her falsifications.
The real questions now are; Can the American public see this incident as purely isolated? Could there be any collusion on the part of state chemists, and prosecution?
Illicit drug use among the populace has always, and will always happen. Regardless of how it’s regulated. What’s worse is it’s usually the impoverished, and indigent that receive the worst representation in our legal system. It’s time to stop pretending that prohibition works. We need desperately to educate people from an early age what drugs are, not just the drugs you like, but all drugs. Their uses, what effects they have on people, and the dangers of overindulgence. It’s time for this country to end its war on drugs, and its war on knowledge.
It’s quite obvious that the justice system does not help drug abusers. It just keeps a revolving door on the jails.