'Stunning' Drug Lab Scandal Could Overturn 23K Convictions | NECN
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'Stunning' Drug Lab Scandal Could Overturn 23K Convictions

"When you look at the scope of the number of cases that may be dismissed or vacated, there are no words for it," said one forensics expert

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    'Stunning' Drug Lab Scandal Could Overturn 23K Convictions
    AP, File
    In this Sept. 28, 2012 file photo, Annie Dookhan, center, is escorted to a cruiser outside her home in Franklin, Mass. Dookhan is accused of faking drug results, forging signatures and mixing samples a state police lab. State police say Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab in one of Massachusetts's top stories in 2012. (AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye, File)

    About 23,000 people are expected to have low-level drug convictions wiped away next month, the culmination of an epic drug-lab scandal in Massachusetts, NBC News reported.

    It comes five years after a rogue chemist admitted to tampering with evidence, forging test results and lying about it, resulting in 24,000 people with questionable convictions. Prosecutors fought to preserve the convictions, but a court ordered them to decide who they can realistically try to re-prosecute.

    They are still working through the list, but their answer is expected to be "in the hundreds," a spokeswoman for one district attorney said this week.

    "It's absolutely stunning. I have never seen anything like it," said Suzanne Bell, a professor at West Virginia University who serves on the National Commission of Forensic Science. "It's unbelievable to me that it could have even happened. And then when you look at the scope of the number of cases that may be dismissed or vacated, there are no words for it."