By Joseph Snook
Boston, MA – 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.
One Prosecuting 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 commonwealth…”
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.