Boston, MA - The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled numerous drug cases involved in the state-run Amherst drug lab to be dismissed on Thursday, October 11, 2018. According to officials, the prosecutors involved in the cases withheld necessary information about a state chemist’s wrongdoing.
The SJC dismissed approximately 7,500 cases involving the same drug lab back in April. The dismissal was ruled due to one of the chemist’s working at the lab, Sonja Farak, admitting to committing crimes within the operation; according to documentation, Farak had stolen drugs while working at the Amherst lab. She had also been using while working at the location.
The most recent case that came before the Supreme Judicial Court went even further. According to court officials, many other drug cases had been ordered to be dismissed due to specific attorneys involved in the case. Supposedly, these attorneys withheld information about the extent of conduct by Farak. The evidence that was withheld could have been extremely helpful for defendants involved in the case.
Supreme Court Justice Frank Gaziano stated that the withheld evidence of Farak’s actions had greatly impacted thousands of cases involved in the drug convictions. Because of this wrongdoing, the SJC could not go further with the cases, considering the misconduct tainted all criminal convictions involved.
As of now, it’s unclear how many cases will be dismissed. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has estimated that an over 10,000 cases will be affected.
Other officials stepped in to state their professional opinions. According to Rebecca Jacobstein, a member of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, attorneys are required to not withhold information. Such behavior is not allowed in court systems and all cases involving such instances will be dismissed for future reference. They will be held accountable.
The decision made by the SJC states that the new defendants involved in the case will include those that were convicted of the drug offenses while Farak was working at the lab and all defendants who had drugs in their cases tested around the time when the lab closed.
The attorney’s general office will be required to pay to handle all court cases related to the dismissals. They will also have to tell everyone involved in the cases that they have been dismissed.