By Joseph Snook
- Today marks a new milestone for Criminal Justice Reform in the United
States. As many as 24,000 criminal cases tainted by false positive reports
in drug cases handled by former Massachusetts chemist, Annie Dookhan
may be overturned and dismissed. Dookhan was convicted in 2013 and sentenced
to three years for her monstrosity of injustice which cost thousands
of innocent men and women their freedom. Dookhan has already been paroled.
The State's Supreme
Court ordered prosecutors from seven counties to produce a list of the
cases that should be dismissed by April 18, 2017. "Today is
a major victory for justice and fairness, and for thousands of people
in the Commonwealth who were unfairly convicted of drug offenses,"
said Matthew Segal, Legal Director for the ACLU of Massachusetts.
District Attorney, Thomas Quinn, said his office was moving for dismissal
of more than 1,500 cases. He continued, "The actions of Annie
Dookhan have imperiled the prosecution of thousands of drug cases throughout
The Boston Herald
reported: "The justices proposed a multi-step process to resolve
the cases, the first step requiring district attorneys to vacate cases
they could not retry based on the evidence. For the remaining defendants,
the prosecutors would be required to show the ability to try the cases
without relying on evidence mishandled by Dookhan, and provide 'adequate
notice' to defendants of their right to explore a new trial or retract
earlier guilty pleas."
Early figures show
that prosectors have already dropped an estimated 21,587
cases which would make it the single largest dismissal of criminal convictions
in U.S. history.
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