"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009;
"Public defenders and civil rights attorneys today argued the state’s highest court should dismiss approximately 24,000 potentially tainted cases — marking the latest round of the long-running brawl over disgraced state chemist Annie Dookhan. “(Prosecutors) have failed to step up,” said Benjamin Keehn for the state public defenders, adding later: “It is time for this court to order a remedy that actually restores the integrity of the system.” Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that a case-by-case approach is a better way to handle the problem and that throwing out thousands of cases would an affront to the criminal process.........Public defenders have raised the specter of thousands of indigent “Dookhan defendants” challenging to their convictions — a prospect that also drew concerns from Chief Justice Ralph Gants, . “This is a practical problem,” Gants said, pressing prosecutors to explain what public defenders — or judges — are supposed to do if the courts are suddenly hit by a wave of defendants. “How can we not address that? Doesn’t that have to be part of what we’re addressing?” Prosecutors shot back, arguing that the issue was pure speculation and if it arises, public defenders could “go to the legislature” to ask for funds or come back to the Supreme Judicial Court. “Do we just dismiss cases because it’s hard?” O’Neil said, when asked about the potential burden facing the system. Justice David Lowy posed a similar question to the ACLU, asking why it didn’t think Massachusetts attorneys would “step up” to the challenge of sorting through the Dookhan mess on a case-by-case basis. “Stepping up to solve a mess created by the commonwealth ... would be a bailout for the commonwealth,” said Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. Public defenders, the ACLU and prosecutors all agreed that a major portion of the defendants involved in the 24,000 cases have already served their sentences. But ACLU attorneys argued that the convictions have long-lasting effects on people - including some who may face deportation proceedings.........Dookhan has already completed a three-year prison sentence for tampering with evidence and falsifying drug tests in criminal cases."