Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court called on district attorneys to dismiss thousands of cases that were tainted by the misconduct of chemist Annie Dookhan at the Hinton, Mass., state drug lab.
The ruling came in a lawsuit, Bridgeman v. District Attorney, on behalf of three named petitioners and other “Dookhan defendants,” brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the national ACLU, the state public defender agency CPCS and Fick & Marx LLP.
What is so shocking about this case is that Dookhan tainted thousands of cases on purpose which led to thousands of innocent people being imprisoned. They estimate about 60,000 over the years and Dookhan only got 3 to 5 years when she was sentenced in 2013. But the shocking part is not only did she just get 3 to 5 years, but that it also took a lawsuit by the ACLU and others to get these people who were convicted with tainted evidence to be released. Most are still in jail, while Dookhan was recently released.
To add to this, former state Drug Analyst Sonya Farak, of North Hampton, Mass., was given 18 months in prison and 5 years probation for stealing cocaine that she was supposed to be testing. Once again, hundreds of cases have been affected by her.
Dookhan started working for the Hinton lab as far back as 2003, according to the Boston Harold; she was released last year, but they had no date.
Both of these cases should have been immediately acted on by the district attorneys in the counties affected by these two women and some type of system should’ve been set up to avoid this in the future. Here it is, 5 years after the initial case, and the court is just now ruling to dismiss those tainted cases.