Mass. Supreme Court Hears Bid to Dismiss 24K Drug Cases - NECN


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Mass. Supreme Court Hears Bid to Dismiss 24K Drug Cases

The ACLU is calling it a restoration of justice



    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016)

    There are new calls in Massachusetts for the state Supreme Court to throw out thousands of convictions linked to Annie Dookhan.

    The former state chemist was convicted of tampering with evidence in some 24,000 cases. 

    The ACLU is calling it a restoration of justice. They say what they're asking for has been done before in other states, just not to this scale. 

    If all 24,000 cases linked to Dookhan were to be retried, the state's public defender agency says it would take them decades to represent everyone involved. 

    Matthew Segal of the ACLU of Mass. said, "These people have served their time. The Commonwealth has gotten many pounds of flesh and it's time to restore justice." 

    The ACLU of Massachusetts says the way to restoring justice is to toss out all cases linked to Dookhan. 

    Wednesday, they petitioned to the state's Supreme Court. 

    Most, if not all of the 20,000 people involved in the Dookhan case have already served their time. 

    The ACSL and their co-legal counsel say if the state's highest court vacates the cases it would clear these people of any collateral consequences. 

    Representatives for the Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk District Attorneys say they'd rather take this one case at a time, not bunching all 24,000 together. 

    Susanne O'Neil of the Norfolk County District’s Office said, “One component of these cases may have been impacted by her misconduct, but it's not the whole case." 

    Vincent Demore of the Suffolk County DA’s office said, "I would ask that this court not further retreat, or retreat at all from the efforts we have made I would ask that at this point the petition be denied." 

    The ACLU says if all cases are taken separately they're not sure they'd be able to get in contact with everyone involved since it happened years ago and addresses have changed. 

    A decision from the court could come in the next few weeks.

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