Many drug convictions in Massachusetts are now being called into question after the scandal that rocked a lab that was used for testing. The issue has affected more than 24,000 drug convictions in a seven-county area. All told, one out of every six drug prosecutions during a 10-year period in the Commonwealth were affected by a chemist’s misconduct.
The issue occurred when a chemist at Hinton Lab was tampering with evidence that was used in drug cases. Since then, the woman has been convicted of misconduct, incarcerated and released on parole. This case of misconduct is one of two that the state is currently dealing with.
The other case of misconduct, which involved a chemist at another lab using drugs while on the job for eight years, is also affecting people convicted of drug crimes in the state. That scandal is still one that is being looked into.
Defendants who had adverse outcomes to their drug charges and were affected by the scandal have the right to challenge their convictions without the fear of more punishment. That, however, is likely going to prove to be a difficult battle. Still, it might be a worthwhile battle for those who have suffered negatively because of the chemist’s actions.
The victims of the tainted convictions have had to live with the effects of the convictions, including spending time in prison, having difficulties finding a job, being unable to obtain housing and even being deported. Now, those individuals are going to face a new legal battle to fight the tainted convictions.
Source: ACLU, “ACLU Lawsuit Reveals One in Six Massachusetts Drug Convictions Tainted by Dookhan Scandal,” May 12, 2016