Judge denies mass dismissal of case from contaminated drug lab

Texas News Today

Boston – Drug defendants whose cases have not yet been dismissed because of rampant illegal activity at the Boston Institute are not eligible for a new trial unless they can prove evidence specific to their case are contaminated. , the judge delivered the verdict on Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of sentences have already been handed out for theft in another Massachusetts laboratory, as well as one of the worst scandals in the United States, tampering with the State Drug Testing Laboratory. According to the Public Defender’s Office, potentially hundreds of thousands of other defendants can still challenge their convictions.

High Court Michael A. Judge Ricciuti’s ruling rejected a motion by convicted cocaine smuggler Justino Escobar, backed by Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins. Rollins awaits the confirmation of President Joe Biden as the candidate for Massachusetts federal attorney.

The judge’s decision to generally invalidate all cases handled by the Boston Institute was followed by the William A. The Hinton State Institute, as well as the rest of the defendants, must support mass dismissal based on evidence. It’s also a blow to Rollins, who asked the judge. ..


“Escobar does not provide specific facts to justify the remedy in its case. It also has sufficient facts and legal authority to justify a global remedy. We could not provide it,” Richutti wrote.

Rollins told the judge to ask the state’s Supreme Court for a “global remedy” from the prosecutor dealing with the Hinton case. Ricciuti declined to do so, saying that Rollins did not provide sufficient evidence to justify the request.

The ruling means proceedings on the contaminated drug test could be postponed for years to come, and state prosecutors to protect taxpayers from drug convictions. It costs a huge amount.

The state’s Office of Public Support estimates that 250,000 narcotics may have been convicted, based on the Hinton case, from 2003 to 2012. 70,000 of them are in Suffolk County.

Rollins said he would appeal to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday.

“Systematic problems require systematic solutions,” Rollins said in a statement.


Escobar’s lawyer also expressed disappointment.

“We respect and appeal the Superior Court’s findings,” said James P. McKenna said.

The Public Defense Commission, the state’s public defense attorney’s office backing Rollins, said the decision did not end his efforts.

“We are disappointed with this decision, but our basic goal remains the same: to ensure that all those convicted of this drug laboratory mismanagement are released,” said the lead counsel. Anthony Benedetti said in a statement.

A scandal in which drug tests at currently closed state laboratories in Hinton and Amherst were tampered with or stolen cost taxpayers in Massachusetts at least $30 million in relief costs.

In 2009, Escobar pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling cocaine weighing more than 14 grams. He was sentenced to eight to twelve years in state prison. The drug trial in his case was held at Hinton in 2008, and he began challenging his conviction in 2015.


Escobar’s attorney and Rollins have all the evidence tested there during that period of rampant illegal activity at Hinton (as reported in the 2014 and 2016 State Inspector General’s reports). claimed to be suspicious.

However, Ricciuti said that in Escobar’s case there was no clear evidence that a particular chemist had committed an illegal act in his case testing a drug.

Ricciuti requires Escobar to prove “bad government illegal activity” before his guilty plea and to show that illegal activity took place in his case before a new trial is granted. Said there is.

Ricciuti also noted that the Supreme Court had previously refused to quash drug convictions based on trials at the State Institute of Amherst without clear evidence of illegal activity in some cases. .. but in the end, it dismissed more than 35,000 sentences for illegal activity.

When chemist Annie Dookhan admitted to falsifying evidence at the Hinton Institute, a scandal erupted and it was forced to close in 2012. In 2013 Dukan was sentenced to at least three years in prison. Sonja Farak pleaded guilty to stealing drugs from Amherst Lab. in 2014.


Both women are free after serving in a group of less than 5 years in prison.


Mulvihill is an associate professor of computational journalism practice at Boston University and a co-founder of the New England Investigative Journalism Center. AP’s New England editor William J. Contributed by Cole.

Copyright 2021 AP Communications. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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