A recent ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court has disavowed thousands of drug convictions dating back to 2003. This follows Annie Dookhan, a former Massachusetts lab chemist, admitting to falsifying drug test results and tampering with samples – corruption that sent tens of thousands of people to jail.
Her confession took place five years ago, but just last month Massachusetts prosecutors finally overturned a list of 21,587 tainted cases that were touched by Dookhan during this scandal. These prosecutors have agreed to overturn the flawed convictions but the highest court of the state still must formally dismiss them.
Consequences for drug convictions range wider than simply prison time or legal fees – there are many collateral consequences that result from a drug conviction as well. These can include a loss of access to public housing and other government benefits, removal of driver’s licenses, loss of federal financial aid for college, and an increased risk of deportation.
Additionally, potential employers often deny a job applicant employment because of a drug conviction on their record.
Since Dookhan’s tainted cases date back to 2003, many people have been living with the collateral consequences of their flawed drug convictions for almost 15 years. Hopefully these thousands of people whose lives have been negatively impacted by corruption and incompetence can soon begin to receive the justice they were owed long ago.
Fighting for Justice
If you have been charged with a drug crime, you need an experienced legal team to fight for you. The type of gross misconduct exhibited by the lab technician in Massachusetts is somewhat rare, but it is not unheard of by any means for police and prosecutors to violate the rights of defendants.
Obviously, a tainted drug test cannot be used against you in a court of law, and your lawyer should be someone who is trained to spot police and prosecutor misconduct as they build your defense. It may not be something as flagrant as a lab technician making up fake test results, but, for example, if the police fail to follow the proper chain of custody for evidence, drug evidence can be thrown out.
In order to represent in you in court and to help fight for your rights, it is crucial for you to have skilled attorneys on your side. We welcome your call today at Lotze Mosley LLP at (202) 393-0535 for your consultation in which we will help you evaluate your criminal case and make a strong plan together.