Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bulletin; Annie Dookhan aftermath: The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is asking the Massachusetts high court to dismiss all of the Annie Dookhan cases. Boston Globe.

STORY: "State ACLU urges Mass. high court to dismiss all Annie Dookhan cases," by reporter Milton J. Valencia, published by the Boston Globe  on January 9, 2014.

GIST: "The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts urged the state’s highest court today to dismiss all of the 40,000-plus criminal cases tied to Annie Dookhan, the state chemist whose falsification of test results in drug cases led to the worst scandal to hit the criminal justice system in years. Saying that the state had failed over the past two years to coordinate a proper response to the scandal, the civil liberties group asked a Supreme Judicial Court judge to order prosecutors to determine within 90 days whether they want to pursue individual cases. If so, the prosecutors would have six months to resolve the cases with a trial or a guilty plea. The group also asked the judge to prohibit prosecutors from seeking tougher penalties against people who have already been convicted and sentenced but want their cases reviewed. The group said the risk of tougher punishment has intimidated defendants from filing legitimate challenges to their convictions, interfering with their constitutional right to a fair trial. “The alternative to this approach has been tried, and it has failed,” said Matthew R. Segal, legal director for the group. He said his group’s proposal would “deliver a fair, efficient, and comprehensive approach to the tainted convictions” stemming from the lab scandal. The petition filed by the group, which the justice could review alone or ask the full court to decide, asks the court to order the reforms under its authority to administer the court system and resolve criminal justice issues.........Since the scandal broke in 2011, defense lawyers have prioritized challenging cases for defendants who were in prison based on evidence tested by Dookhan, and they have had mixed results. The Supreme Judicial Court is considering several cases from Suffolk County that will ultimately determine what standards prosecutors and the courts should follow in determining whether a defendant is entitled to a new trial. Prosecutors have opposed a blanket dismissal of cases, pointing out that defendants could also have been implicated in other crimes. Last month, for instance, a Roslindale man was sentenced in Norfolk Superior Court to two-and-a-half years in prison for charges, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, stemming from a dangerous police chase. The sentence was handed out even after prosecutors agreed to drop drug charges against him."

The entire story can be found at:


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