"In Bergen County Superior Court, the new year will mean sorting through at least 323 adjudicated criminal cases that have been reopened in light of the alleged misconduct of a state police lab technician. That’s out of some 7,800 closed cases that were called into question in light of a discovery in December 2015 that Kamalkant Shah falsified results of samples of suspected marijuana at the State Police laboratory in Little Falls. The 323 cases represent the number filed as of Dec. 22, with additional filings expected, according to a report by Superior Court Judge Edward Jerejian.
The reopened cases are centralized for case management under Jerejian, who was assigned by the Supreme Court in June 2016 to hear petitions for relief related to tests of drug samples by Shah in the 10 years he worked at the lab. Most of those cases are pending re-testing of narcotics samples at the State Police lab or are still under review by the Attorney General’s Office. The state has indicated that 250 of the samples were recently re-tested, and Jerejian is awaiting the state’s position as to those results. Of those re-tested, all have re-tested positive for the drug initially identified, according to Jerejian’s report. The state has provided its position for 12 of the cases in which re-testing is complete, according to Jerejian’s report. Of those, five applications were withdrawn after the sample re-tested positive, and three cases are pending orders for dismissal because the sample was no longer available for re-testing. Four others are being contested further on various grounds, and hearings have been scheduled in those cases. In one of the contested cases, the Office of the Public Defender has filed an application requesting the court to conduct a hearing pursuant to Frye v. United States, to determine whether due process compels chemically testing marijuana for the presence of THC through the use of a gas chromatography analytical device. The Office of the Public Defender says that method would be more specific, repeatable and subject to verification than the current testing procedures, according to the Jerejian report."