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Massachusetts crime lab negligence: drug charges plea reversed

The recent suspicion of tampering in a Massachusetts crime lab was expected to raise concerns about a large number of specimens reviewed and the criminal convictions that followed. Due to the seriousness of the evidence potentially being mishandled, there have been cases reopened and reevaluated for mistakes. Recently, one man walked out of a Massachusetts court room a free man after serving three months of a two and a half year sentence on drug charges.

The guilty plea the man had entered previously was reversed, and the accused man will now proceed to defend himself as if he had never entered a plea of guilty. His attorney has stated that he will have to answer for the charges, yet the circumstances may be different now, knowing that the evidence may have been tampered with. The prior guilty plea acknowledged possession of Oxycodone pills and cash, but that plea has now been withdrawn.

This man will likely be back in court soon to face these allegations. This case is expected to be the first of possibly many cases reevaluated in the wake of the crime lab mishap. At this time, there have been no charges filed against the lab chemist suspected of mishandling evidence.

When a person is arrested on drug charges in Massachusetts, the potential consequences can be severe. It is vitally important that the evidence be handled properly during testing, weighing or identifying for the purpose of ensuring a fair hearing before the criminal court. In this case, the accused man pleaded guilty to a charge without knowing that the evidence against him may have been tainted. The possibility of a crime lab error has given the man a new opportunity to contest the allegations and evidence offered against him.

Source:, "Fallout from Mass. drug lab controversy deepens," Jennifer Eagan, Sept. 20, 2012


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