Braintree Police Evidence Scandal Could Impact Prior Convictions and Plea Deals

The Norfolk District Attorneys office says thousands of cases are under review

As the fallout from the scandal inside the Braintree evidence room continues, defense attorneys are scrambling to bring pending and past cases forward. They say even more criminals could walk free due to tainted evidence at the Braintree Police Department.

The Norfolk District Attorney’s office says thousands of cases are under review after an audit showed missing drugs, guns and money from the police department’s evidence room dating all the way back to 1999.

So far eight drug cases have been thrown in four days as a result of the scandal in Braintree.

Defense attorney Bob Harnais says it affects dozens of his clients, including some who already accepted plea deals now based on tainted evidence.

"When the plea was made, we weren’t aware of the situation in the evidence room," Harnais said. "It’s been compromised."

Town officials in Braintree say most of the evidence has now been accounted for, but Harnais says in the legal system, that does not matter.

"The fact that they lost control and they weren’t aware of where everything was is going will affect not only the present case, but there are going to be cases involving people already off probation."

The Norfolk District Attorney’s office is being proactive, sending out letters to lawyers about cases that are affected and throwing out charges that relied on now tainted evidence.

When asked if anyone in the department will be penalized in light of the scandal, Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan had no comment. He said the investigation is ongoing.

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