STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS DISMISSES 20,000 DRUG CONVICTIONS DUE TO MISCONDUCT BY STATE CHEMIST

Disgraced former state chemist Annie Dookhan caused the dismissal of thousands of drug convictions, spurred countless hours of complicated litigation and cast doubt on the integrity of the criminal justice system.

As we move past this dark moment in Massachusetts history, there are only victories that come with too great a cost.

District attorneys yesterday were forced to throw out roughly 20,000 cases that they had spent time and public money pursuing. A Supreme Judicial Court decision gave them no other option.

“Let’s keep in mind that we are not dealing with actual innocence here, we are dealing with drug defendants the overwhelming majority of whom plead guilty,” Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said in a statement, adding later: “Some are having their cases dismissed because we believe that the integrity of our system of justice is more important than their conviction.”

Meanwhile, outside the John Adams Courthouse, civil rights attorneys and public defenders praised a high court decision that finally drew a line in the sand and stopped a disastrous saga from stretching on any further.

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