Thursday, June 27, 2013

Annie Dookhan: Massachusetts; Release of independent review could result in a new wave of appeals; Patriot Ledger;

STORY: "Drug lab scandal review could bring new wave of appeals," by reporter Christian Schiavone, published by the Patriot Ledger on June 25, 2013.

GIST:  "The flood of drug defendants seeking to have their convictions tossed because a former state chemist charged with faking test results handled evidence in their cases has slowed to a trickle, but some prosecutors and defense attorneys say that was only the beginning. Since the scandal broke last summer, dozens of people convicted on drug charges have been freed pending new trials because evidence that helped convict them was handled by Annie Dookhan, the former chemist at a Jamaica Plain lab who is now charged with faking drug test results and tampering with evidence in thousands of cases. The pace of new appeals has slowed dramatically in recent months. But the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office and the state organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants are bracing for another push following the release of an independent review of the lab by the state Inspector General’s Office that they say could call even more convictions into question. That report is due out this fall or early winter. “The first wave was a very small fraction of the whole, including cases where the defendant was incarcerated, on probation or on parole,” said David Traub, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. “We are expecting the onset of the next wave in the fall.” A special session set up to hear drug lab cases in Norfolk Superior Court went from meeting multiple times a week to once a month as the crush of cases has slowed, Traub said. Anne Goldbach, an attorney and forensic services director for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, said that if the review suggests other chemists also mishandled evidence, that could lead many more defendants to seek to have their convictions overturned, whether they’re behind bars or have already served time and want to clear their records. “I would be very surprised if the report said it was only one rogue chemist, and everyone else was fine,” she said. “There are certainly incarcerated people in non-Annie Dookhan cases who may be seeking new trial motions after the report is out.”"

The entire story can be found at: 


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