Thursday, January 8, 2015

Annie Dookhan: (Three years later); At hearing set for today - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - several individuals and civil liberties organizations will ask the court to ensure that defendents convicted based on evidence that Dookhan falsified or tampered with will have a fair and efficient way to clear their names - without fear of retaliation by prosecutors.

 RELEASE: "Mass. Supreme Judicial Court to consider remedy for tens of thousands of people affected by massive drug lab scandal," published by the Massachusetts Civil Liberties Union on January 7, 2014.

GIST:  "On January 8, 2015, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments in a case brought on behalf of three individuals by Foley Hoag LLP, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and the national ACLU, which seeks to provide swift justice for tens of thousands of people who were unfairly convicted of drug crimes on the basis of tainted evidence, and to allow those people to challenge their wrongful convictions without fear of retaliation by prosecutors. SJC Justice Margot Botsford has said that, in this case, the SJC might now wish to consider a "systemic approach" to the state's drug lab scandal.
The scale of the problem created by the state drug lab scandal is unmatched anywhere in the country, and the Commonwealth has been slow to respond. More than three years after the revelation of massive criminal misconduct by Massachusetts crime lab technician Annie Dookhan, a list of docket numbers for the affected cases is still not available, and defendants who were convicted based on evidence that Dookhan falsified or tampered with still have no fair and efficient way to clear their names, argues a brief filed by Foley Hoag, the ACLU of Massachusetts, and the National ACLU.........As the law now stands, prosecutors can use the threat of longer prison terms, including mandatory minimum sentences, to discourage Dookhan's victims - who were largely poor people of color - from demanding new trials free of tainted evidence. These harsher punishments could even apply to people who have already served their sentences but risk returning to prison if they seek to vindicate their rights.
"People who have suffered due to what the SJC called 'egregious government misconduct' are being scared away from challenging their wrongful convictions by the threat of even harsher punishments," said Foley Hoag partner Daniel Marx. "That unfairness, and the three-year lag in addressing this scandal, are two more examples of the problem at the heart of the recent rallies and demonstrations in Massachusetts and throughout the country: the problem of a broken justice system. The Massachusetts drug lab scandal helps to show the sheer magnitude of the problem, because the convictions of tens of thousands of people have been called into question.""
The entire release can be found at:

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